Over the last 5 months, the Budget Committee has been working with staff on the 2014 Budget. Details of the 2014 Budget and the process can be found at http://www.toronto.ca.
On November 25th, the 2014 Tax-supported Capital and Operating Budgets were presented at the Budget Committee meeting. The proposed Budget recommends a residential property tax increase of 2.52%. This includes a 0.5% property tax surcharge to fund the Bloor-Danforth subway extension. A breakdown of the property tax impact can be found below.
The base increase of 2% is the same as last year. For the average household, the increase in property tax will be $64. Over 90% of the increase in net expenditure is due to police, TTC, fire and EMS. Revenue increases are limited by the lowest new assessment growth in the last 6 years. The increase will protect existing services and fund new infrastructure to meet the growing needs and increasing population of our city. The 2014 City of Toronto Budget includes:
Improve public safety and emergency response times by hiring new paramendics and replace departing police officers and Toronto Fire Services staff.
- 1232 new affordable housing units.
- Increase emergency shelter funding by 5.3%.
- Plant 97,000 trees annually.
- Offer selected free recreation programs at 39 Community Centres in total in 2014.
- Open 3 new Community Centres.
- Open 2 new libraries: Scarborough Civic Centre and Fort York.
- Programs and initiatives to expand key economic sectors.
- Reduce gridlock, improve traffic flow and mitigate congestion.
- Re-build and rehabilitate expressways, roads and bridges.
- Improve City Facilities for 2015 Pan- and ParaPan-Am Games.
- Begin planning for Scarborough Subway (replacement of SRT).
- Increase the TTC subsidy to address ridership and Wheel-Trans growth and provide more service.
- Replace older subway cars (they don’t last forever) and buses and improve signaling systems.
The Rate-supported Capital and Operating Budgets for Solid Waste Management, the Toronto Parking Authority and Toronto Water were debated at the Budget Committee on November 12. Below is a summary of the budget for these departments.
The Solid Waste Management budget includes a 3% rate increase that will help the division maintain waste diversion initiatives, improve operations and allow for capital investments (e.g. repair existing and build new infrastructure). The budget also recommends harmonizing all rates for Agencies, Boards, Corporations, Divisions and School Boards to the commercial rate by 2017.
The Toronto Parking Authority Budgets and Plan will contribute more than $46 million to the City in 2014.
The 9% increase to water rates, started in 2005, ensures Toronto Water can continue to provide quality drinking water and wastewater services. The 2014 budget continues to address the backlog of rehabilitating aging infrastructure and basement flooding due to extreme storms.
I will be holding two budget town hall meetings, on January 14th and 21st, 2014 – see front page for details of meeting.
The 2014 budget with any amendments will be debated at Executive Committee on January 22nd, and then at full Council starting on January 29th, 2014.
For more information on the budget such as backgrounders,analyst notes and other materials visit www.toronto.ca/budget2014.