By Chelsea Howard
The first 2015 budget was released Tuesday by Toronto Mayor John Tory at the budget committee meeting at City Hall.
Tory kept a number of promises made during his campaign despite his announcement yesterday that TTC fares will be increasing.
Public transit, transportation infrastructure and poverty reduction dominated budget discussions, and a property tax increase, below the rate of inflation, is being implemented.
Key details of the proposed budget include:
- A 10 cent fare increase which will create $37 million in additional revenue to improve services
- $21 million towards poverty reduction
- Investing $5 million for emergency services
Property taxes are expected to rise to 2.75 per cent, including a 2.25 per cent tax increase and an additional 0.5 per cent from the Scarborough subway construction.
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) January 20, 2015
The $5 million allotted for public safety will cover 56 new paramedic positions, 25 new fire prevention and education staff and extreme weather planning.
The city is committing $21 million to poverty reduction including new and enhanced shelters with additional beds, two new 24-hour drop-in women’s shelters, and an increase funding for Toronto Housing Allowing Program.
In regards to overall transit services, Toronto has reached an all-time high annual ridership at 545 million users.
There is expected to be 50 new bus routes including 12 routes for the Blue Night Network and 4 routes to the Express Bus.
The budget has yet to be approved by city council, however can still be altered up until March 2.