Budget committee wants to hear from the public

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Councillors on the budget committee will be taking the show on the road Wednesday.

Split into two subcommittees, councillors tasked with hammering out the 2011 budget will be hearing from the public Wednesday and Thursday night at civic centres across the city.

Budget chief Mike Del Grande along with Councillors Michelle Berardinetti and Chin Lee will be hearing budget deputations at the East York Civic Centre Wednesday starting at 6 p.m. and at the York Civic Centre on Thursday.

 

Budget committee vice-chairman Doug Ford along with Councillors Frank Di Giorgio, Peter Milczyn and John Parker will listen to deputations at the North York Civic Centre Wednesday and the Scarborough Civic Centre Thursday night.

The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition said Tuesday they’ll be presenting to the North York meeting.

Matthew McGuire, the coalition’s president, said property taxes have gone up 40% and now the city is proposing “the highest spending budget in Toronto’s history.”

“Something’s got to give,” McGuire said. “We need to make sure that department managers are able to find 5% savings in their budget and there are two or three departments that didn’t do that…there really is no excuse.”

The coalition will also be pushing councillors to privatize garbage collection — something Mayor Rob Ford promised during the election.

While McGuire applauded the fact the budget has a 0% property tax increase, he is worried spending is still going up.

Toronto resident Desmond Cole will be speaking to one of the budget subcommittees Thursday at the York Civic Centre.

Cole has spent the last week going to Finch station at night and talking to people about Transit City’s Finch LRT and what it could mean if Ford goes ahead with plans to derail the entire project.

“I talk to them about the proposal for the Finch West LRT, I ask them if they know about the plan and if they know it is meant to replace the (Finch) bus,” Cole said.

After explaining the LRT plan, he encourages riders to get in touch with the mayor and councillors and let their voices be heard.

“I definitely get the feeling (people) don’t even know that this plan was drafted and the all the work that has gone into it,” he said. “They don’t and that has really what has motivated me to be there.

“These residents have a right to know what this plan has been about and how it could change transit along Finch Ave. West.”

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2011/01/18/16938201.html

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