City Council meeting of September 21 and 22, 2011
Council Highlights summarizes a selection of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's Office provides the full, authoritative documentation of all Council business matters and decisions.
Port Lands revitalization
Council unanimously endorsed a protocol providing a framework for collaboration by the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, the Toronto Port Lands Company and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority – together responsible for the Port Lands. The protocol incorporates two pieces of work the City views as vital to a review of the Port Lands – specifically, further examination of the Don Mouth Environmental Assessment, and completion of an economic analysis and a business and implementation plan for the Port Lands. The City Manager is expected to report back on the results of the review in six to eight months.
Civic appointments for current term of Council
Council approved citizen appointments to a number of boards including, among others, the Toronto Police Services Board, Exhibition Place Board of Governors, Toronto Public Library Board and Toronto Port Authority Board. In addition, Council asked the Integrity Commissioner to investigate alleged breaches of confidentiality regarding the earlier shortlisting of candidates and subsequent discussion of appointments at the September meeting of Council. Documentation regarding the appointments: see City Council meeting of September 21 and 22.
Sale of dogs and cats in Toronto
Council decided to require retailers and anyone who sells more than 10 dogs a year to obtain their animals from municipal animal shelters, registered humane societies, registered shelters or rescue groups, or people who have surrendered their pets at no charge. The City will take action to find and shut down any puppy/kitty mills operating in Toronto, and wants to encourage residents to report their knowledge of any operating puppy/kitty mills in Toronto.
Fixed fines for parking tickets
Council adopted a recommendation to implement a fixed fine system in Toronto for all parking ticket offences, other than accessible-parking offences, where a parking ticket proceeding results in the conviction after a defendant in court either pleads guilty or is found guilty. Fixed fine amounts will be set equal to the dollar amount that appears on the parking ticket, meaning that a fine amount can no longer by reduced in court. This system is expected to reduce the costs incurred by the City for trial requests made by recipients of parking tickets. Council also supported a motion to explore the feasibility of offering the option of paying for municipal parking by cell phone.
Downtown transportation study
Council gave staff the authority to issue a Request for Proposals for a study of traffic management downtown. The study is to address congestion concerns and assist with the assessment of transportation options that are already at various stages of development. The study will focus on shorter term operational solutions for the safe, efficient movement of people and goods downtown, optimizing use of existing infrastructure. In addition to dealing with movement downtown, the study will address getting in and out of the downtown area.
Wet weather plan and basement flood protection
Council approved an updated Wet Weather Flow Master Plan, identifying the Basement Flooding Protection Program, the Don River & Central Waterfront Project and the Stream Restoration Program as the main funding priorities in the master plan over the next five to 10 years. Council's approval also endorses a method for prioritizing basement flooding projects and co-ordinating them with City construction projects in the neighbourhoods involved.
Canadian Air and Space Museum
Council urged the federal government to grant the Canadian Air and Space Museum on the site of the former military base in Downsview a long-term reprieve and to keep it on the Downsview lands. On September 20, the federal Downsview Park organization announced the eviction of the museum. Last year, City Council recognized the museum as a cultural asset that provides a valuable education service by preserving Canadian aerospace and aviation history.
City Council's special meeting of September 26 and 27, 2011
At this meeting, Council adopted a series of recommendations pertaining to the final report on the Core Service Review, the User Fee Policy and the Voluntary Separation Program.
Core Service Review: Council adopted a series of recommendations and amendments involving the Core Service Review that was conducted this spring and summer with extensive public consultation. Council also adopted a motion directing the City Manager to report on options available on the revenue side that could help balance the 2012 operating and capital budgets.
User Fee Policy: Council authorized a user fee policy, designed to ensure consistency in establishing and administering City user fees. The fundamental principle guiding the policy is that user fees should pay for City services that provide a direct benefit to specific users, while services that benefit the entire community should be funded by property taxes. In implementing the policy, staff are to take into consideration access and equity for Toronto's diverse communities.
Voluntary Separation Program: Council approved a voluntary separation program for City of Toronto staff designed to reduce the City's annual expenditures on salaries and benefits. The program offers a payment to participants based on salary and years of service, not to exceed 26 weeks' salary. About 1,100 staff applied to be considered for the program. Senior management will assess each of the applications and decide on approvals, taking into account operational needs.
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Council Highlights, produced for your convenience, is a summary of Council's recent decisions. Council Highlights is not intended to serve as an official record of the meeting. If you have questions about this summary, please e-mail Strategic Communications firstname.lastname@example.org.