Council passed the 2015 Budget on March 11, 2015. City Council was able to find $110 million in operation efficiencies without cutting services. The City’s Operating and Capital Budgets for 2015 includes a 2.75% residential property tax increase. The city’s proposed rate supported budget was also passed in March. A breakdown of the property tax impact is:
|Service Enhancements – $143M||0.59%||0.2%|
|Total Property Tax Impact||2.75%||0.92%|
In addition, a 2005 Tax Shift Policy adds another 0.44% to residential property tax rate to re-balance the property tax impact on non-residential properties which was causing job losses (estimated at 300,000 at one point) to the 905 area. And a CVA impact of .01%, bringing the total rate increase, on an average house, to 3.2%. There is also the impact on individual properties which was the result of the implementation of the 2013-2016 phase-in of 2012 CVA from MPAC.
Overall, the average house in Toronto will see an increase of $83.19 on their annual property taxes.
Toronto’s Operating Budget for 2015 is $11.4 billion and makes key investments to improve services. City Council has approved a $90 million investment in public transit to get Toronto moving. This initiative will improve subway, streetcar and bus service across the TTC network and includes expanding the Express Bus and Blue Night Networks.
The budget also takes measures to help reduce poverty in the city through the Poverty Reduction Strategic Initiatives. This includes providing more beds in Toronto’s shelters, improved services for the homeless during extreme weather and programs to connect residents with jobs so they can get back on their feet. The City is also making investments in its emergency response services to meet a projected increase in demand for emergency services and to speed up response times.
The City of Toronto is opening a number of new facilities this year. The money for constructing these buildings was earmarked in the capital budget while the cost for running them and their associated programs is planned for in the city’s operating budget. The new facilities are:
- 2 new library branches – including one at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
- 2 new community centres and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough.
- 1 new child care centre.
- The Leslie Barns streetcar maintenance and storage facility.
The City’s 10-year (2015-2024) Capital Budget and Plan proposes investing $31.7 billion in maintaining existing municipal infrastructure in a state of good repair. Here are a few key details:
- 60 replacement and new subway cars (average lifespan is 30 years) at a cost of $162 million and 810 new 40-foot buses costing $600.2 million to enhance service and deal with ridership growth.
- Replace the existing streetcar fleet with new low-floor vehicles (30 year life).
- Speed up the implementation of planned bicycle lanes.
- $111,000 to analyze and report on ways to manage traffic congestion.
- $443.2 million more to repair the Gardiner Expressway quicker.
- $625.7 million to maintain and enhance our parks and recreation spaces.
- Construct new or expand existing community centres (13 in total).
- Build new fire and paramedic stations at a cost of $31 million.
For more information on the budget, visit www.toronto.ca/budget2015.