Toronto City Council makes major decisions at first business meeting|
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Toronto City Council makes major decisions at first business meeting
Toronto's new City Council led by Mayor Rob Ford made several important decisions today that signalled City Council's respect for taxpayers as it met for the first time to deal with a full agenda of City business.
"Today was a great day for the taxpayers of Toronto," said Mayor Ford. "We have put $64 million back in their pockets from the Personal Vehicle Tax and nearly another million from reducing Councillors' office expenses. I look forward to saving more of taxpayers' money over the next four years."
On Council's decision to formally request that the Province of Ontario designate the TTC an essential service, Mayor Ford said: "Riders need to be able to rely on the TTC, especially when getting their children from daycare or school."
Details of today's Council actions follow:
Eliminating the Personal Vehicle Tax (PVT)
Council approved the termination of the City's Personal Vehicle Tax (PVT) effective January 1, 2011. All vehicle plate validation holders who live in the City of Toronto and have birthdays from January 1, 2011 onward will not have to pay the PVT. Those with birthdays in 2010 prior to January 1, 2011 will still be required to pay the PVT. Vehicle owners who purchased a two-year renewal in 2010 will receive a refund for the 2011 year.
"This was a good day for taxpayers in Toronto as we're all in this together," said Mayor Ford.
City staff estimate that it will take four to six weeks for the City to receive the renewal information from the Province. Those who qualify will automatically be reimbursed by the City within two to three months.
More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/finance/revenue_tools.htm and by calling the City of Toronto at 311.
Reducing Councillor office expenses
Council approved the reduction of the annual individual Councillor Office Expenses budget from $50,445 to $30,000, effective January 1, 2011. This reduction will save Toronto taxpayers a total of $899,580 next year by reducing the 2011 operating budget for City Council by that amount.
In presenting the original recommendation to Executive Committee on this issue, Mayor Ford said, "During my campaign, I promised to reduce the Councillor Expense Budget and to tighten up the rules on what are considered eligible expenses. While the actual savings are not huge, this reduction is highly symbolic of the will of Toronto City Council to listen to the voice of the public and demonstrate leadership in fiscal restraint and respect for the taxpayer."
Council also requested that the Deputy Mayor and the City Clerk review the City's current Councillor Expense Policy in consultation with Members of Council, and to report back to City Council via Executive Committee in April 2011.
Request to declare TTC as an essential service
Council decided to formally request that the Provincial Government designate public transit in Toronto an essential service - meaning that, should the legislation be passed by the Provincial Government, labour strikes would no longer be legal for TTC workers.
"TTC strikes cost our economy nearly $50 million a day- when the TTC isn't running, our city grinds to a halt and commuters and businesses suffer."
Allowing driveway parking
Council today directed staff to hold a Statutory Public Meeting to consider an amendment to the new Zoning Bylaw with respect to residential parking. The amendment clarifies that vehicles may be parked anywhere on the private portion of a driveway associated with a single detached, a semi-detached, a duplex or an individual townhouse. The meeting will be held on January 27, 2011 before the Planning and Growth Management Committee.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mayor's Office: Adrienne Batra, email@example.com
Personal Vehicle Tax: Cindy Bromley, Communications Manager, Finance & Administration, 416-392-4993; firstname.lastname@example.org
Reducing Councillor office expenses: Rob Andrusevich, Senior Communications Advisor-Media Relations, 416-397-4149, email@example.com
Allowing driveway parking: Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Coordinator, 416-392-3496, firstname.lastname@example.org
Making TTC an essential service: Rob Andrusevich, Senior Communications Advisor-Media Relations, 416-397-4149, email@example.com