AUDIO: Police Chief, City Hall still at odds over spending
Toronto's top cop managed to squeeze another $2.3 million out of his 2013 budget.
However, at roughly $950 million dollars, it's still over $19 million more than the all-out budget freeze being requested by City Hall.
Police Chief Bill Blair says his revised budget is as lean as it can get, adding that he expects to employ just over 5,320 officers in 2013, working out to 80 fewer than the current roster of 5,400.
Blair says the budget will see Toronto Police in a hiring freeze for 2 straight years.
"(We) were asked not to hire in 2013 so we put off the April class (of new recruits) and that will take us down a significant number of police officers but the end of the summer but it is what we need to do to meet the budget."
Blair says there is no way he can cut more from the budget and still maintain the standard of service the Police Services Board demands.
"If the politicians in our city want to reduce the size of their police service then that is the choice that they get to make. My responsibility is to tell them exactly what the dollars-and-cents are and we've done that," says Blair.
"We've put all those numbers in front of them and said 'this is what you must do to get your budget down to zero.'"
The Chief says he needs more money to keep up with rising salaries. If the force can't freeze spending, City Council will have to make cuts elsewhere or raise property taxes above the slated 1.95% increase for 2013.
Blair takes issue with those at City Hall who believe that freezing spending on Toronto's most costly service is simple.
"You can't just say you want to cut the budget without also accepting responsibility for the consequences for cutting that budget and my responsibility is to tell them that 'this is what you must do if you intend to fund policing at that level."
City budget chair Mike Del Grande has asked all departments to freeze their budgets.
Council votes on 2013 budgets in January.