Several notes and calls have come to me concerning possible cuts to Animal Services in the 2008 budget. I wanted to explain where things are.
Earlier this month the Mayor introduced the draft budget for consideration by the Budget Committee. This draft budget was the result of several months of intensive review by senior City staff and members of the Budget Committee, on which I sit. The Budget committee then held public hearings, and several issues were raised by the community and City Councillors. Two possible cuts to the Animal Services budget were raised: injured animal pick up and voluntary animal surrender. In the first case the City responds to calls about injured animals and collects them. In the second, the City accepts custody of pets that Torontonians can no longer care for. These two programs are a small portion of the overall Animal Services budget.
The Budget Committee is current reviewing these proposals along with a few others in other City departments. We will meet again next week to consider changes. In order to save these programs or maintain them at a lower level of service, we would need to reduce expenditures elsewhere in the City budget.
The final Budget Committee recommendations go to the City’s Executive Committee, and then to City Council for a final vote at the end of March. Personally, I am never happy to cut important public services, and will work hard to identify possible savings elsewhere. Thanks for writing.