Council Highlights – December 11, 2014

Deputy mayors for Toronto     
Council approved amending the City Council procedures to provide for the establishment of up to four deputy mayors, one to assist the mayor in each of the city’s four regions, to be appointed and removed by the mayor. There is a requirement that the mayor designate one of the deputy mayors as a first deputy mayor to act in the mayor’s absence and to perform the roles and functions that the Council procedures and the Municipal Code assign to the position of deputy mayor.

2015 budget schedule
Council approved a process and schedule for developing, reviewing and adopting the City’s 2015 budget. Under the schedule, Council will be able to adopt the 2015 operating and capital budgets by early March. The Budget Committee is scheduled to begin the review of a staff-recommended budget in late January and wrap up its work on the budget in mid February, leading to consideration of the committee’s recommended budget by the Executive Committee and Council in March. Council directed senior staff to prepare a plan for comprehensive community consultation for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets.

SmartTrack transit plan
Council requested an interim report on a work plan for an accelerated review of the SmartTrack and Regional Express Rail plans for transit in Toronto. The review is to include detailed planning as well as an environmental assessment, a business case analysis and an implementation schedule. Council also adopted related motions, such as one that addresses urban development scenarios along the proposed SmartTrack alignment.

Security at civic facilities
Council supported a motion asking staff to present the emergency evacuation policy and procedures for City Hall’s council chamber and committee rooms, and for Toronto’s civic centres, for a review in closed session. Staff have also been asked to conduct an exercise to test the procedures’ effectiveness.

Payment of legal expenses
Council voted in favour of keeping the City’s payment of Council members’ legal expenses at the established limit of $20,000 with respect to a councillor’s recent legal costs. The existing protocol specifies a maximum of $20,000.

Artscape and Wychwood Barn
Council authorized staff to establish a 20-year agreement between the City and Toronto Artscape Inc. for operating the buildings and space at the Wychwood Barns facility. As part of the agreement, the City’s permit fees will be waived for Artscape’s special events held outdoors at the site. Toronto Artscape is a not-for-profit organization that develops and manages cultural facilities in the city.

Council meeting of December 2 and 3, 2014

Appointments
At the first meeting of the new City Council elected for the 2014-18 term, Council appointed the speaker and members of standing committees, agencies and external bodies. Details are available at http://bit.ly/1zbpag2