January 19, 2012
This week, Toronto City Council approved the 2012 City of Toronto Budget. While the press is focussed on reporting the manoeuvring that took place at City Hall, the real story is different. Torontonians themselves re-wrote the City budget. I received over 5000 emails commenting on the City budget. Various hearings and deputation days saw over 1000 people come and speak up for the City we love and want to build. Let’s take a look at what we achieved together:
Quickly stated, the budget includes a 2.5 per cent property tax increase for homeowners, a 0.83 per cent tax increase for businesses, and a 10-cent fare increase for the TTC.
Because of the work of you and your neighbours, the budget was substantially changed from the proposals launched in November. Together we:
– Restored the school-based childcare rent subsidy;
– Protected 3 child care centres including St. Marks Child Care Centre in Parkdale;
– Protected free recreation programs for children, youth and seniors at Priority Community
Centres including our own Masaryk-Cowan CC;
– Restore hours at 10 ice-rinks;
– Kept 7 pools open
– Protected funding to the Community Partnership Investment Program (CPIP) which funds
community organizations who provide Toronto’s arts events, school nutrition programs,
community activities, seniors programs, youth engagement, and newcomer supports;
– Restored funding for the “Well Woman” health program which is provided by the Women’s
Immigrant Health Centre
– Increased the TTC budget by $5-million to prevent cuts in bus and streetcar service.
– Kept 3 homeless shelters open
– Preserve Library service levels including hours, programs, and purchases of books: including
hours at Parkdale and High-Park branches!
– Eliminated a proposed $2 charge for drop-in swimming
– Restored the “community animator” program which supported neighbourhood lead
– Protected the Toronto Environment Office allowing the City to continue implementing the
City’s Climate Action Plan
More information on the Budget is available on the City’s Budget 2012 website at http://www.toronto.ca/budget2012/index.htm .
I am very proud of our City. Faced with a very destructive administration, we stood up, fought back, and won important concessions. Our next task is to get back to City building. In the coming months, please continue to meet, talk, organize and envision the City we should have.
Thank you all for your work to date, and the work to come.