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April 27, 2000
City of Toronto Council Approves 2000 Budget
  
Toronto City Council today approved a $5.9 billion operating budget that
ensures the third consecutive year of a property tax freeze. The budget not
only meets all existing financial requirements to operate City services, but
also enhances several programs and services by a total of almost $77 million.

Mayor Mel Lastman called the budget, "the best we've ever had. I believe this
budget will do great things for our city." Budget Advisory Committee Chair Tom
Jakobek said, "This is a good news budget that begins to use the muscle of the
newly-amalgamated city."

CAO Michael Garrett said, "This budget process was very difficult. It required
the considerable efforts of staff from across the whole corporation. I commend
all involved for a superb effort." CFO and Treasurer Wanda Liczyk said, "This
budget presents major savings that have allowed for significant expansion of
Council's priorities in various programs and services."

Highlights of the budget include:

-Adding 675 new hostel beds at a gross cost of $15.2 M. This is a 21% 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%
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
Task Force

The 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.


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