City Council approves balanced budget that invests in key service priorities for Toronto residents and businesses|
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Toronto City Council has approved a 2018 tax supported operating budget of $11.12 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $25.98 billion. The 2018 budgets ensure that the City maintains or improves all service levels and makes unprecedented investments in social infrastructure and housing.
"Today, City Council approved a responsible budget that makes important investments in our City, while keeping it affordable for our residents," said Mayor John Tory. "This budget provides new funding for transit, including hop-on, hop-off transfers on the TTC and funding for the Transit Fare Equity program so that low-income residents will be able to use public transit. This budget also provides funding for increased shelter beds and social housing repairs to prevent the permanent closure of Toronto Community Housing units."
"The 2018 budget ensures we invest in key areas and, for the fourth year in a row, the budgetary property tax increase will be kept at or below the rate of inflation," said Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the City's Budget Committee. "Through the budget process we listened to residents and I'm proud to say we have delivered a budget that funds these priorities, while continuing to invest in everyday services and maintaining our infrastructure in a state of good repair."
Overall, the 2018 budget tax increase after assessment growth is 1.47 per cent, with a 2.1 per cent increase for residential properties, a 1.05 per cent increase for commercial properties and a 0.70 per cent for industrial properties in support of Council's tax policy to enhance the City's business climate. There will be no increase for multi-residential or rental apartment buildings as per new provincial legislation.
Residents will pay an additional 0.5 per cent for the City Building Fund which supports important infrastructure projects such as transit and housing. With the City's overall strategy to enhance Toronto's business climate and reassessment impact, there will be an additional increase of 0.31 per cent for residential properties, bringing the total municipal tax increase to 2.91 per cent. The average house assessed at $624,418 will attract an additional $82 in municipal property taxes for a total of $2,907 for 2018.
"The major investments that are outlined in this year's budget continue to respond to the City's key priorities by providing additional funding to address increased demand for shelters and housing, invest in poverty reduction, advance environmental sustainability and improve Toronto's transportation network," said City Manager Peter Wallace.
The 2018 Operating Budget maintains all current programs and services and provides funding for new and enhanced services, including:
• $2.3 million to accelerate the implementation of the prioritized TransformTO short-term strategies
• $2 million to complete the phase-in of the four-year Arts and Culture Plan to achieve the $25 per capita spending benchmark for arts and culture
• Funding for an additional 1,515 childcare subsidies, support for the new Child and Family Centres Program and other expansion programs ($71.8 million gross and $2.1 million net)
• In response to increased shelter demand, funding for:
o 700 winter respite shelter beds ($24.6 million)
o 35 additional positions to provide operational support and oversight for the expansion of the shelter system ($1.8 million)
o the operation of three new permanent shelter sites ($1.7 million)
• $4.6 million to begin the Transit Fare Equity Program which provides discounted TTC passes for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients who do not receive transportation supports
• Implementing TTC's recommended two-hour time-based transfer policy on Presto ($1 million gross, $6.1 million net and $5 million capital)
• $3 million to relieve overcrowding on TTC bus routes
• $1.3 million to implement congestion-fighting measures such as Traffic Enforcement Officers
• $0.8 million to enhance access to recreation programs by increasing the number of recreation spaces by 10,000 and accelerating an additional 10,000 spaces for a total of 20,000 new recreational spaces.
City Council also approved a 2018-2027 tax supported Capital Budget and Plan of $26 billion of which 72 per cent is allocated to transit and transportation projects such as the purchase of buses and streetcars, subway expansion and the F. G. Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation.
"The City's capital program ensures the City's $76 billion in physical assets are maintained and expanded," said Joe Farag, Acting Chief Financial Officer. "For 2018, a strong focus was placed on funding high-needs social infrastructure projects including TCHC, the George Street Revitalization project, child care growth and other key city building initiatives. Funding for these new projects was made possible through the additional provincial gas tax revenue which is budgeted to be nearly $1.1 billion over the next ten years."
New investments in the 10-year capital plan include:
• $279 million in interim capital funding to address the TCHC state-of-good-repair backlog and current revitalization projects to avoid permanent closure of its units
• $485.8 million for the George Street Revitalization project
• $178.6 million to acquire and construct nine shelter sites and renovate two leased sites over a three-year period that will add 1,000 new permanent shelter beds
• $6 million for the Anishnawbe Child Care Centre which when completed will provide 62 new childcares spaces
• $202 million for various programs to ensure compliance with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards
• $6.4 million for a feasibility study of the Rail Deck Park, $3 million for the design and development phase of determining future uses of Old City Hall and $3.5 million to complete design work for the new Etobicoke Community Centre
• $46.7 million for critical state-of-good-repair projects such as the St. Lawrence Centre Roof project, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy project and the Multi-Branch Renovation project of the Toronto Public Library
• $19.5 million for the Glen Road Pedestrian Bridge and York Street Tunnel and further extension of the PATH system along York Street south of Bremner Boulevard
• $2 million to address critical waterfront rehabilitation due to high lake-effect flooding
• Capital funding of $45 million to support capital modernization projects such as fire prevention technology integration, office modernization and IT to support Business Sustainment System, Application Systems and Information Management Infrastructure.
"The 2018 budget continues to respond to the complex needs of a growing city through the improvement and expansion of services and infrastructure, while ensuring that current service levels are not eroded and existing City assets are reliable to support City services for Toronto residents, businesses and visitors," said Josie La Vita, Executive Director of Financial Planning.
More information about the City's budget and the budget process is available at http://www.toronto.ca/budget.
Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/TorontoComms and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto.
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