By Kristin Andrews
The city of Toronto has projected a $115 million surplus for its operations budget during the first six months of this year.
The Toronto Star reported the surplus as the result of higher land transfer taxes and a hiring freeze.
According to The Globe and Mail the city saved almost $3 million as a result of labour conflicts with the Toronto Public Library and saved $10.5 million in diesel costs for the TTC.
“The city gives us a number that we use to budget diesel and the actual cost of diesel came in under that budget,” TTC chair Karen Stintz told Humber News.
The TTC experienced a record number of riders this year at 507 million said Stintz.
Right now it’s unclear how the surplus will affect the TTC.
“At this point we’re still compiling our budget for next year, we’ve had hire than expected ridership and we’re doing our best to contain our costs, but it’s too soon to say,” said Stintz.
What this means
“ It speaks to the fact the city of Toronto has taken in more revenues then we’ve spent but we still haven’t reached the end of the fiscal year, we still have a winter season to contend with,” Toronto councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam told Humber News.
“If we receive a heavy snow fall that means there will be additional costs that the city will have to pay out to make sure the roads are clear and we’re all safe,” said Wong-Tam.
A Fuss over nothing
“Now that we have the $115 million half way through the year it says that what ever big debates took place this year perhaps need not have happened,” said Wong-Tam.
When the city launched its core service review before the 2012 budget was passed that budget caused a great deal of stress for a number of communities throughout the GTA said Wong-Tam.
“There were forecasts that Toronto was going to be in this very dark, doom and gloom situation and of course it ended up being the other way,” said Wong-Tam.
A budget is a living, breathing document said Wong-Tam.
“It actually reflects the social values of whoever is drafting or creating that budget,” she said “And if our budget is such that we only care about reducing services to cover costs, how are we defining ourselves?”