No funding for 60 per cent of approved service enhancements: budget chief
City Budget Chief Gary Crawford is seen in this undated photo.
Published Monday, January 18, 2016 9:52PM EST
The City of Toronto has announced it will have to postpone more than half of the service enhancements approved for 2016 due to a shortage in the city’s budget.
The city began this year’s budget process with a list of $67 million in service improvements that had been approved but not funded.
On Monday, Budget Chief Gary Crawford confirmed that, for the city to maintain its promised rate-of-inflation tax increases, there will be no money for 60 per cent of the items on that list.
“We can’t do everything,” Crawford told reporters. “We had to look at priorities.”
As a result, Sunday subway service starting at 8 a.m. will be implemented this year, but other promised improvements to public transit such as better bus maintenance and expanded track safety initiatives will have to wait.
Expanded parks monitoring and maintenance as well as daily breach grooming initiatives have also been shelved. But the city will fund poverty-reduction initiatives such as expanded student nutrition programs and nursing services for seniors in long-term care.
Some local politicians, however, say they’re fed up with what they call unfulfilled promises.
“The mayor and his allies have got into a habit of announcing that they’re going to solve poverty or improve transit, but then refusing to pay for it,” said Coun. Gord Perks.
But the mayor’s team insists that delaying some service enhancements is the responsible choice in balancing this year’s budget.
“They weren’t promises,” said Coun. John Campbell. “This was a ‘nice to have,’ but not necessarily a ‘need to have’ list.”
The city is facing a current budget gap of $57.4 million.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson