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April 28, 2004
Council is Listening to Toronto by approving 2004 budget protecting vital services
Residents attending the Listening to Toronto pre-budget consultations provided valuable input into the City's
budget process and expressed what they thought makes Toronto a great city in
which to live and work. The budget approved by Toronto City Council today
responded to this input by protecting vital programs and providing modest
enhancements to targeted areas where previous reductions have made reinvestment
necessary to maintain services.

To balance the budget, the City has had to rely on several one-time solutions
that are not sustainable - including a provincial loan deferral, revenues from
Toronto Hydro and access to the commercial/industrial tax base. These sources
of revenue are not sustainable as a means of financing the operating and
capital requirements of the City.

"The assistance given to the City by the province and the federal government
is a good down-payment on the New Deal. But Toronto needs predictable funding
and the legislative tools to maintain services, keep the City's infrastructure
in a state of good repair and plan for growth," said Toronto Mayor David
Miller. "Residents have told us that we need to maintain the services that
make Toronto what it is - the right funding is needed to keep Toronto

Budget Chair David Soknacki added, "Starting with a $344 million shortfall, we
knew that this budget presented an enormous challenge. I would like to commend
the members of Budget Advisory Committee, the Mayor, councillors and city staff
for their hard work in creating and approving a budget that preserves core
services and maximizes one-time funding opportunities. In the coming year all
our efforts need to support the Mayor in negotiating the details of a New Deal
with the provincial and federal governments."

Budget highlights include:

  • increased funding for the three emergency services - police, fire and emergency medical services, including the largest increase in police spending in the history of the City of Toronto

  • $2.6 million in funding for the Clean City / Beautiful City initiative. Combined with the efforts of residents and business, this program begins the process of cleaning up the City, enhancing the appearance of the city's public spaces and changing public behaviour in the long term

  • freezing TTC fares, preserving the accessibility of public transit for city residents, and responding to the high priority Torontonians placed on transit during public consultation

  • a $2.8 million increase in grants to community, arts and culture organizations. This funding assists those living in neighbourhoods at risk by leveraging the work of community workers and volunteers to deliver the programs and services that residents need most

  • maintaining recreation funding levels to ensure there will be no pool closures.

The $6.6 billion operating and $908 million tax supported capital budget for
2004 contains a 3% tax increase for homeowners (lower than the majority of GTA
municipalities) - approximately $57 for a home valued at $330,700. The budget
also includes a 1.5% tax increase for commercial/industrial taxpayers that was
made possible for 2004 only.

Further background on the City of Toronto 2004 budget is available at

Media contacts:
Andrea Addario, Office of Mayor David Miller, 416-338-7119
Hratch Aynedjian, Office of the Budget Chair, 416-392-4136
Kevin Sack, Corporate Communications, 416-397-5277
Cindy Bromley, Finance Communications, 416-392-4993



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