Happy New Year.
January begins a new year and with that, a new city budget and a new city budget process.
I am very worried about the impact of this city budget on the City’s finances and the quality of our services.
Mayor Ford has already shrunk the City’s income by cutting the personal vehicle tax and freezing property taxes. This will have an impact on our ability to deliver quality public service. On Monday January 10th, we will see for the first time how big that impact will be.
To make matters worse, this year the City will have the most truncated and least open budget process in its history.
For the first time, member of the public are not allowed to make public deputations to the Budget Committee. Instead, select members of the budget committee will hear presentations. There will be no opportunity to come to Toronto City Hall to speak up. No hearing is being permitted and City Hall. Also, the budgets are being introduced and approved faster than ever before, with a minimum of Council debate.
January 19th and 20th will have an opportunity to speak up for Ward 14 and the future of our city and our city services.
The Budget sub-committee will meet with the public on January 19th at the East York Civic Centre and on January 20th at York Civic Centre. These scheduled dates are your only opportunity to speak to the 2011 Water Rate, Waste Rate (garbage and recycling), and the City’s overall Capital and Operating budgets.
If you have something to say about the kind of City you want, mark these dates to make a deputation or write in to the Budget Committee.
We will all have to be extra vigilant to ensure that the City budget reflects our priorities, protects the service we care about, and invests in the kind of City we want.
I will post detailed information on the City Operating and Capital Budgets as it becomes available.
Please consider keeping either the 19th or 20th open. The hearings will be held at:
January 19th, 2011: East York Civic Centre, Council Chambers
850 Coxwell Avenue
January 20th, 2011: York Civic Centre, Council Chambers
2700 Eglinton Avenue West
Directions for both locations available on -line at: www.toronto.ca/311/locations.htm
Written comments can be submitted to:
10th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
And, as always, I want to hear from you directly.