Toronto City Council approves $7.8 billion Operating Budget



    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ - Today the City of Toronto approved a
$7.8 billion Operating Budget that reflects the priorities of all
Torontonians, and protects our City as we grow. The budget was balanced by
property tax increases of 3.8 per cent for residents and 1.26 per cent for
non-residential properties. As well, the City will use $278 million from its
reserve funds as a one-time solution to balance the 2007 Operating Budget.
    However, Toronto taxpayers continue to cover the costs of provincially
required programs putting a strain of approximately $600 million on the City's
Operating Budget each year. While the province has partnered with the City in
providing funding for TTC's Capital program, the City needs a commitment from
the Province to resolve the funding relationship for social service programs.
    "The provincial government must comply with the requirements of their own
programs and stop forcing Toronto to divert tax dollars from services its
residents expect," said Mayor David Miller. "It's time for the Province to pay
its bills."
    Residents and businesses in Toronto rely on the City to provide important
municipal services such as police, fire, emergency medical services,
libraries, roads, transit, garbage collection, recycling, and parks and
recreation.
    "We went to great pains to protect services and made difficult choices,"
said Budget Committee Chair Councillor Shelley Carroll. "In the end, we had to
go to our reserves and to the taxpayers to help balance this budget."
    This budget provides modest improvements in specific areas to support the
growth in transit ridership, the three emergency services, and areas such as
solid waste collection and recycling and parks, forestry and recreation. The
2007 Operating Budget requires a 1.8 per cent increase over the 2006 budget,
demonstrating the City's continued efforts to control expenditures while
maintaining quality services.
    "The City continues to operate efficiently and compares favourably to
other municipalities in the delivery of services," said Shirley Hoy, City
Manager. "Frontline service has been maintained, however, reliable funding is
necessary to ensure that services continue in future."
    "In order to achieve financial sustainability, the uploading of social
services must start in 2008," said Joseph P. Pennachetti, Deputy City Manager
and Chief Financial Officer.
    For the 2008 budget and future years, the plan calls for continuous City
service improvements, the uploading of social services costs to the Province,
new revenues that grow with economic activity such as one cent of the GST,
creation of the national transit strategy and new taxation tools granted by
the new City of Toronto Act.
    Find out more: www.toronto.ca/budget2007
    For information about the need for Canadian cities to have a share of
revenues that grow with the economy visit: www.onecentnow.ca

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and
innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to
prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

    
                     Visit our Web site at www.toronto.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Don Wanagas, Office of Mayor
David Miller, (416) 338-7134; Kevin Sack, Strategic Communications, (416)
397-5277, (cell) (416) 919-6500; Cindy Bromley, Finance and Administration
Communications, (416) 392-4993


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