Toronto City Council has debated and voted on the 2015 city budget, and by a vote of 36-8 ultimately approved the budget. The property tax will increase by 3.2%, which means households will pay an average $83 more per year. In addition, water rates were increased by 8% and garbage fees were increased a whopping 58%.
Before the debate,mayor John Tory said the city’s $11.4 billion operating budget is designed to improve service levels and keep major services intact.
Before the City Council to discuss budget, Tory said the city’s operating budget of $114 million, the city government to improve service levels and keep major service project. Tory’s budget includes a 2.25% tax increase, lower than the rate of inflation, and an additional 0.5% tax increase to fund construction of the Scarborough subway extension.
Meanwhile, Tory also proposed to cut the Toronto Board buses and police expenditures total 100 million 10 million yuan, and invested 90 million yuan to improve the quality of service buses Bureau. On the final city council budget outcome for rent increased by 3.2%. Some media reports, due to the large increase in garbage fees, and therefore need to rent rose 3.2 percent.
At yesterday’s City Council meeting, Ward 2 Councillor Rob Ford proposed that City Council reject the garbage fees. Ford pointed out that the proposed changes reduce the solid waste rebate by $18 million. But his proposal was supported by only two votes.
The waste disposal charges will increase fees for small garbage bins by $3.91 annually, for medium bins by $32.64 annually, for large bins by $91 annually, and for extra large bins by $126.39 annually.
Tory argued that people can save money if they are willing to reduce their amount of waste and choose a smaller garbage bin. He said garbage collection and disposal costs are increasing, and while the city’s goal for waste diversion is 70%, the city is only hovering around 55%. This measure, he argues, is to encourage the public to reduce waste.
At the meeting, Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks proposed to increase the property tax rate to 3.92% from the required 2.75%. It is understood that the city budget is facing a shortage of $86 million.
Another controversial aspect in the budget is whether funds from capital reserves should be borrowed to supplement the budget and repaid over six years. In this regard, City Councillor Mike Layton pointed out that the city borrowed money from the capital funds to temporarily balance the budget shortfall, but the city still need to pay for it. He said that means that means the City wants to raise taxes. Other contents of the Budget, the City Council will continue to discuss today.
The proposal is also subject to fierce criticism from the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition. The group notes the original garbage fees were offset by a tax rebate, but Tory’s plan to roll back this rebate will effectively make taxpayers pay twice for garbage collection.