Council meeting to discuss city cuts cancelled
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2007 6:56PM EDT
A special meeting to discuss the controversial community centre cut backs and proposed new city taxes has been cancelled due to a lack of support from Toronto city councillors.
The meeting was proposed by Mayor David Miller in response to a raucous backlash from residents and councillors decrying community centres closing to the public on Mondays.
Two-thirds of the 30-member council must agree to reopen the debate for a meeting to be held.
A recent poll by the mayor's office determined Miller lacked council's support in reopening the talks.
"It's a really serious issue, and I wanted to give members of council the opportunity to debate the taxes now so we could avoid some of the cuts that are happening," Miller said Tuesday.
Toronto's fiscal crisis has forced staff to scale back municipal services. Nearly $83 million in service cuts have already been identified this year in various city departments. Other measures include delaying the opening of outdoor ice rinks until January and reducing library services.
Miller maintains the proposed land transfer tax and vehicle registration fee are important revenue tools that will help alleviate Toronto's cash crunch.
The taxes could raise $350 million for the cash-strapped city.
Coun. Karen Stintz says the debate over municipal service cuts and Miller's tax plan should be left until after the provincial election on Oct. 10 like originally planned.
"I believe the scheduled cuts were really an attempt to scare the people of the City of Toronto to vote for these taxes, and I think that's backfiring on him," Stintz said referring to Miller.
Right-wing concillors, including Denzil Minnan-Wong, told CTV News that they would only attend a meeting to debate city cuts if there was a guarantee the proposed taxes would not be discussed.
Glenn De Baeremaeker, a member of Miller's powerful executive committee, told CTV News that some councillors are refusing to meet in an effort to push their own agendas.
"It is shameful and very disappointing that people are using their own personal power to advance their own personal political agendas," De Baeremaeker said Tuesday.
With a report from CTV's Desmond Brown