Chief Administrative Officer Presents 2001 Budget Overview|
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Ontario government downloading, revenue constraints and inflationary pressures
are the main challenges facing the City of Toronto as it enters its 2001 budget
process, Chief Administrative Officer Michael R. Garrett told councillors today.
"We have already redistributed savings of more than $300 million since
amalgamation to offset a number of pressures, including provincial
downloading. We will continue to find ways to save money, but at the same
time, we need a stable and fair funding arrangement to protect important
services and programs," said Mr. Garrett.
Mr. Garrett and Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Wanda Liczyk briefed
councillors as part of the budget process. The City's budget pressure of $305
million on a gross operating budget of $5.9 billion was discussed. This
represents a five per cent increase in gross operating costs. Senior
management of the City has provided councillors with options for reductions.
City Council will now review these options and others to find a balance between
levels of service and addressing the budget shortfall.
Options developed include reducing levels of service in some program areas,
increasing property taxes and seeking assistance from the province to balance
the unfairness of downloading. The CAO also outlined the longer-term pressures
that continue beyond 2001, and outlined an action plan to find further
efficiencies from within City budgets to help address these pressures.
Ms. Liczyk presented a comprehensive list of elements affecting the City's
financial condition, for Council's consideration. "The City has tremendous
challenges ahead in just maintaining, never mind improving, its financial
health over the next decade," she said.
Operating budget pressures include the increased cost of delivering services
because of salary and benefit increases, higher utility costs and other
inflationary costs, as well as downloading in such areas as social housing,
child care and the transfer of the Provincial Offences Act. Capital budget
pressures include: the long-term impact of debt on transit and housing capital;
maintaining City facilities in a state of good repair; and future capital
Almost 40% of Toronto's operating budget is not directly controlled by the
City. This is because the province mandates service levels in many programs and
the City must deliver those programs regardless of available funding.
The budget process provides for consideration of the City's budget by Standing
Committees and the Budget Advisory Committee with final Council review
scheduled for April, 2001.
Fact Sheets on municipal revenues, spending and savings will be available on
the City of Toronto Web site at www.city.toronto.on.ca.