January 9 – Budget Updates

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Councillor Budget Forum

Councillor Pasternak, Ward 10 York Centre, is holding a budget forum for residents on Tuesday, January 10 at 7 p.m. at his constituency office, 638 Sheppard Avenue West, Suite 205.  The Councillor hasn’t publicized the meeting.  He is inviting people who have contacted his office asking for a budget meeting.  Please help him spread the word.  Contact info for Councillor Pasternak:  416-392-1371, councillor_pasternak@toronto.ca

Budget Committee Wraps Up – Bulk of Proposed Cuts Still on the Table

Budget Committee made its final recommendations for the 2012 operating and capital budgets on Monday, taking $2.8 million in cuts off table, leaving $85.2 million in proposed cuts down from $88 million identified in the staff-recommended budget launched on November 28.

The committee voted to use $2.8 million from a pot of $8.8 million from unanticipated assessment growth to remove three items from the long list of proposed cuts.  Fifty-eight student nutrition programs, programs in 12 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) shared-use community centres and 2 of 7 TDSB pools were spared.  The Budget Committee maintained the vast majority of service cuts, the TTC fare increase and recreation user fee increases identified in the staff-recommended budget.  The two school pools removed from the chopping block are located in Bedford and Sir Wilfrid Laurier schools, Wards 25 (Councillor Robinson) and 43 (Councillor Ainslie).  The motion exempted school pools on the cuts list that did not have a neighbouring pool within a 3 km radius.  The remaining 5 school pools slated for elimination of City programs are located in Wards 13 (Councillor Doucette), 21 (Councillor Mihevc), 30 (Councillor Fletcher), 31 (Councillor Davis) and 32 (Councillor McMahon).  Some Councillors noted that the two school pools that were saved are located in the wards of Councillors on the Mayor’s Executive Committee.

Our Public Libraries at Risk

In October, a staff report to the Toronto Public Library (TPL) board identified 59 libraries including research and reference, district and neighbourhood branches for proposed service reductions in the hours of operation.  On two occasions, the TPL board refused to make this recommendation.  Instead, the board passed a budget with a 5.9% cut, against the direction of the City Manager to all departments, agencies, boards and commissions to reduce their budgets by 10% (many did not).

On January 9, the Budget Committee passed a motion requiring the board to make additional cuts totaling 10%.  Councillor Lee was the single member of the Budget Committee to vote against this motion.  The Chief Librarian made it clear that to achieve this budget target, the TPL will have to cut hours of operation, the circulation budget and/or programs such as literacy support.

Finance, Core Service Review, Service Efficiency Reports 

In addition to voting on the City budget, the Budget Committee reviewed several related reports including the third-quarter variance report with the $154 surplus estimate (plus $20 million earmarked for staff buyout packages), updates on the core service review and service efficiency studies.

Check the agenda for links

New Map of the Cuts

Tomorrow we will release a new map of the proposed cuts based on the Budget Committee recommendations.  Watch for it.

Executive Committee and City Council

Next up, Executive Committee reviews the Budget Committee recommendations on Thursday, January 12 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall, Committee Room 1.  Then it’s all up to City Council at its January 17-19 meeting for a final decision on the 2012 City operating and capital budgets.

 

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