City of Toronto 2000 Budget Moves Forward|
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Operating budget recommendations of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) were
reviewed today by the City's Policy and Finance Committee. This is the final
step before City Council considers those recommendations next week.
On Friday April 14 the BAC completed its review. For the third consecutive
year, a zero tax increase was recommended. The $5.9 billion gross budget meets
all existing financial requirements to operate City services. It also enhances
some programs and services by a total of $76.6 million.
Mayor Mel Lastman said, "I am proud of the teamwork that not only produced
another zero per cent budget, but improved those services most important to
residents. This is great news for Toronto."
Budget Advisory Committee Chair Tom Jakobek added, "This budget will do far
more for the citizenry of Toronto than any other budget before it."
Chief Administrative Officer Mike Garrett said, "I'd like to congratulate the
members of the Budget Advisory Committee, the Policy and Finance Committee,
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Wanda Liczyk and all the staff involved
for their hard work in moving the proposed operating budget forward."
Highlights of the recommendations include:
- Adding 675 new hostel beds at a gross cost of $15.2 M. This is a 21 per cent
increase in bed nights from 1997.
- Adding 73 front-line police officers and 17 court officers, providing for a
six-month community action program and approving a helicopter pilot project at
a combined gross cost of $5.2 M
- Adding a total of 64 paramedics at a gross cost of $3.4 M, an increase of 21
per cent over 1997 levels
- Paying for 62 firefighters added in November from a July 1999 Council
decision at a cost of $2.8 M
- Approved $13.7 M gross to implement the recommendations of the Children's
The proposed operating budget faced major new costs that included $31.2 M in
provincial downloading costs; the $17.1 M cost of capital projects including
debt service charges; and the $4.3 M increased cost of snow removal contracts.
Savings incorporated in the proposed 2000 budget included amalgamation savings
of $15.8 M (a cumulative savings of $304 M since 1998); social housing mortgage
savings of $14 M; a $10.8 M net cost reduction in annual welfare costs; and
$4.2 M in lower costs in solid waste management.