By: Omar Jaber and Tyson Lautenschlager
The City of Toronto tabled its 2018 budget at City Hall on Thursday, with most of the funds being directed towards the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The new budget also proposes a 2.1 per cent property tax increase for the new year.
While the police will get the largest portion of the funds, they won’t get an increase in money from 2017. They will still receive $999 million. The TTC, however, will get $713 million, a 3.4 per cent increase from 2017.
The budget committee said they have a balanced budget for 2018, and it’s one that heavily relies on profits made from the booming real estate market.
Toronto brought in $793 million from municipal tax profits in 2017, which is $85 million more than they expected.
Councillors disappointed by budget shortcomings
One of the things that disappointed some city council members was how the budget committee seemingly didn’t consult council enough on things that were left out of the budget, such as additional costs for crossing guards and lifeguards.
“So if I don’t stand up to council and say I want these back in the budget does that mean we don’t have crossing guards, we don’t have lifeguards on our beaches,” asked Sarah Doucette, Ward 13 councillor of Parkdale-High Park.
Doucette also went on to mention that Transform T.O., a climate change initiative, and student nutrition are also not included in the budget.
Janet Davis of Ward 31, Beaches-East York, was disappointed council’s direction was not followed by the committee when creating the budget.
“We’ve not put in any of the enhancements that council approved and referred to, even when we asked to have them in,” she said.
Other budgetary investments
While most of the money in this budget is going towards the police and public transit, other key investment priorities by council are going towards other projects.
Council has set aside $6 million for office modernization, along with $1 million towards the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and $2 million towards constructing the controversial Rail Deck Park.
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