City Staff Recommend 1.95% Tax Increase in 2013
If the preliminary budget floated by Toronto city staff gets approved by council in the New Year, the average Toronto homeowner (with a home valued at $474, 366) will pay just under $50 more in property taxes in 2013.
City staff unveiled a $9.4 billion dollar 2013 operating budget Thursday at city hall recommending a 1.95% residential property tax increase and a 0.65% commercial property tax increase to balance the books.
Mayor Rob Ford had requested an increase of 1.75%.
The budget is contingent on Toronto police meeting the city manager's request to bring in 2013 budgets with a 0% increase, something rejected by police chief Bill Blair. The police services board refused to accept Blair's budget, ordering to him to take another shot at it.
City staff say if the police budget meets the target, the books will be balanced, but if it comes in higher, as much as $21 million dollars in cuts will need to be made.
The budget includes more than $10 million dollars in cuts to Fire Services through staff reductions and re-organizing and restructuring. That will mean an elimination of 91 front-line fire fighter positions, although those positions are currently vacant. There will also be a loss of 14 vacant support staff positions.
City staff outline just under $7 million dollars in efficiency savings found in Parks, Foresty, and Recreation and savings of just over $100, 000 by eliminating funding for the Global Aids Initiative.
The city also launched it's capital budget and plan over 10 years (2013-2022) which includes spending more than $500 million dollars on repairs to the Gardiner Expressway, chipping away at a $626 million dollar repair backlog.