City Council meeting of February 7 and 8, 2011
Reduced fee for business licences
Council supported making a municipal code amendment reducing the City's fee for a new business licence application by $25. The reduction comes in response to the Municipal Licensing and Standards division now requiring clients to provide their own documentation of police clearance instead of the City undertaking the police check at an administrative cost of about $25. The City's fee reduction, which takes effect immediately, is retroactive to January 1, 2011.
Salary freeze for Mayor and Councillors
Council decided to cancel a Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase to salaries that was scheduled for the Mayor and Councillors for 2011. The rationale for the decision is to set a good example in helping the City address its current financial challenges. The CPI increase would have totalled about $110,000 for the year. A motion asking that the $110,000 be allocated to the City's student nutrition program was referred to the Budget Committee for consideration.
Improving the City's responsiveness
Council adopted the City Ombudsman's annual report for 2010 and directed the City Manager to implement six recommendations for the Toronto Public Service. The recommendations include, for example, ensuring that any City divisions without complaint systems in place complete them immediately and post them on their divisional websites no later than March 1, 2011. Another requirement is that the Toronto Public Service set standards for record-keeping in every area of its operations by this fall.
Preparing to host the Pan Am Games
Council took steps to continue the City's efforts preparing for the Pan American Games and Parapan American Games that Toronto and surrounding municipalities will host in 2015. Among actions taken, Council approved using the City-operated track at York University for the games as well as creating a bicycle motocross/BMX course in Etobicoke Centennial Park — the latter requiring local community consultation. Council granted authority for the City to move ahead with partner the University of Toronto (subject to conditions) to build an aquatic centre in Scarborough that will serve the games and leave a beneficial legacy for the community.
Extension of stimulus projects
Council authorized the extension of work on City stimulus projects that have experienced delays, and gave City officials authority to amend intergovernmental agreements to take advantage of an extension of deadlines for federal and provincial funding of local stimulus projects. The flow of funds was originally going to end March 31 but the funding will now remain available for qualified projects until October 31, 2011.
Support for City job fairs
Council directed City staff to continue to build connections between employers and job seekers by hosting, participating in and supporting job fairs across Toronto. Job fairs bring together a large number of employers and job seekers. Council directed the Employment & Social Services and Human Resources divisions, along with other divisional and community partners, to plan and host a Toronto job fair later this year.
Green roofs for industrial buildings
Council authorized extending the City's exemption period for industrial buildings for meeting green roof requirements that were set to take effect January 31, 2011. The extension to April 30, 2012, made by amending the Toronto Green Roof Bylaw, will allow for further consultation with stakeholders on the issue of green roofs on industrial buildings.
Bikes on sidewalks, cars in bike lanes
Council wants Toronto's police to crack down on prohibited cycling on local sidewalks. Council decided to ask the police chief (through the police board) to create a strategy to enforce City bylaws covering cycling on sidewalks and to review ticketing procedures for infractions. The police chief will also be asked to look into options to step up enforcement efforts that will help to discourage drivers from blocking cyclists by stopping or parking motor vehicles in bike lanes.
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