City Passes 2014 Budget

Dear Neighbour,

The City’s $9.6 billion 2014 Capital and Operating Budgets passed at Toronto City Council by a 35-9 vote on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 9:30 P.M.

This year’s budget will keep the High Park Zoo in operation, expand school breakfast programs, add nearly 1800 hours to the District Branches of the Toronto Public Library system, open 2 new library branches (one just south of Ward 41 at the Scarborough Civic Centre) and increase community grants to organizations that provide much needed community services.

Approximately $4.8 million in services were added to the budget and went towards programs for at risk youth, after-school recreation and daycare programs and the City’s swimming pools and theatres.  This slight increase in spending also prevented 1 fire truck from going out of service but was not enough to keep 4 others on duty. 

Toronto City Council has to increase property taxes by 2.71% on average to pay for the increased cost of providing services (mainly due to inflation) and to pay for the Bloor-Danforth subway extension into Ward 41.  The average Toronto homeowners property tax bill will see a mean increase of $68.59.

Of that $68.59 increase of property taxes on the average residential property, $42.33 is earmarked for paying for the increasing cost of providing city services, $1.63 will go to repairing the City’s tree canopy after December’s ice storm while $12.70 will fund the Bloor-Danforth subway extension into Scarborough.  If you believe the poll taken on the weekend, over 60% of respondents believe that the LRT is a more appropriate replacement.  I support the Bloor-Danforth subway extension into Ward 41 because it will provide more reliable and faster service to commuters in our community and the SRT is reaching it’s end-of-life date, and we cannot buy replacement cars for this one-of-a-kind and non-standard system.  Expert projections for ridership of the Scarborough Subway in 2031, less than 10 years from projected opening, sits at 100,000 per day and 14,000 at peak-hour.

Property taxes make up only 39% or $3.75 billion of the City’s $9.6 billion budget.  The other 61% mainly comes from development fees, parking fines, TTC fares, user fees and provincial grants.  I explained this to attendees of my Budget Town Halls in January.  For more information, see  www.toronto.ca/budget.

There are many issues facing Toronto, including what to do about the F. Gardiner Expressway, our Drinking and Waste Water Infrastructure, Public Transportation/Transit, Gridlock and its cost, etc.  It does cost money (from taxpayers) to operate, maintain and keep our infrastructure in a state of good repair (SOGR).

With a snowier and colder winter, combined with the recent ice-storm, our roads have taken a beating, and many of our arterial roads have become pot-holed.  If you see any, please report it to 311 or use SeeClickFix to report it –  http://en.seeclickfix.com/can_torontoIn addition, people have called about high snow banks making it more difficult to see around corners, so please use extra care and caution in those cases, and call our office and we will report them.  I try to clear the storm-water grates in front of my house by just making a path for water to flow to it.  See attached photos.  In this case, I used a small shovel head with a long handle.  I have also used an 8-feet 2×4 lumber to poke a hole into the snow bank.  This solves the problem of water pooling on the street  and in front of my driveway, then re-freezing, making the street dangerous for driving and walking.  I will attempt to put a video together and put that on my Youtube site.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any city issues, do not hesitate to contact my office.

Sincerely,

Chin Lee
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 41 – Scarborough Rouge River

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