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Morning Brew: Council passes the 2013 budget, Cllr. Del Grande quits budget post, Mammoliti calls overspend a "disagreement," a non-partisan beer, and HST for transit

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 17, 2013

toronto go trainCity council officially passed the $9.4-billion budget 2013 budget yesterday, adding new spending for additional firefighters, nutrition programs, daycare and housing. Mayor Rob Ford in favour of spending $3.1 million for 64 new firefighter positions despite suggesting the day before he wouldn't back the plan. Despite the flip-flop, Ford declared the budget the best in Toronto's history.

In the wake of spending plan getting the approval of council, its architect, councillor Mike Del Grande, called it quits as Rob Ford's budget chief. Del Grande suggested he would quit his post if councillors added new "emotional" spending to the document. He told CTV he felt a motion to include more transparency in the budget process was a personal attack.

Also in finance, councillor Giorgio Mammoliti says the more than $12,000 his campaign is alleged to have overspent during the 2010 election is the result of a disagreement between two auditors. In an interview with the National Post, Mammoliti claimed, in strange third person voice, "it isn't about the candidate."

They might be political foes, but that doesn't mean Rob Ford and Adam Vaughan can't share a pitcher of Mill Street and a sandwich. A picture of the non-partisan luncheon at Monarch Tavern in Little Italy taken by councillor Paul Ainslie settled a bet that the three-day budget council meeting would wrap up before 1pm on day two, according to Doug Ford.

The Grid's Ed Keenan has an interesting proposal for transit funding: a two per cent HST hike that would raise around $1.3 billion a year for new LRTs, busses, and subways in Toronto. Keenan argues the idea could be more palatable as it was the rate of tax many Toronto citizens paid in 2006. Is this a better way of raising cash than a casino?

The TTC enforcement officers fired for covering skipped shifts with fake tickets could be made to give back their pay, according to CEO Andy Byford. Several of the sneaky staff were paid more than $100,000 a year plus overtime.

Finally, Toronto's open bus shelters could soon be a thing of the past. According to Jack Lakey, the Toronto Star's "fixer," Astral Media has decided not to install any more of the glass waiting areas over complaints about the lack of protection from the weather. Unfortunately, it's not clear what will replace them.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Gotta Love Train Yards" by calebwildes/blogTO Flickr pool.



Xavier / January 17, 2013 at 09:11 am
Losing Mike Del Grande as budget cheif is a huge blow to the city. Having someone competent in the role has been the best part of Ford's term. Hopefully whoever fills the role can live up to his standard
Dice / January 17, 2013 at 09:15 am
Those shelterless shelters really are stupid. If it isn't actually a shelter it's just a billboard. Glad to hear of the change
Mt replying to a comment from Dice / January 17, 2013 at 11:01 am
careful, I will only be glad when astral actually unveils whatever they plan to replace these shelters with. their track record has been quite poor so far.
daryl / January 17, 2013 at 11:10 am
Is that CityPlace bridge open again?
lazy ass replying to a comment from daryl / January 17, 2013 at 11:15 am
its been open for almost 2 months now.
CanoeDave / January 17, 2013 at 11:34 am
Too bad Del Grande is leaving as Budget Chief but he must be burn out. It's one thing to be a Chief Carroll under Miller where you were dedicated to spending more, increasing taxes above inflation, raiding the surplus and reserves, piling on more long term debt and to keep all your public service allies happy. It's quite another to limit expectations, restore fiscal accountability and say no to the Dippers.
Douglas / January 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Just make a toll for the Gardiner to cover cost of fixing it and also generating money for TTC. IT is the easiest answer.
Mucho Grande / January 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm
Thanx and good bye Mike. Not gonna feel bad that you're mad because firefighters can hire more people to save us. I have mad respect for your principles but it seems like you've been threatening to leave for a while. Good night and good luck.
Oh and yes(!) to Edward Keenan
Robert replying to a comment from CanoeDave / January 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm
In other words David Miller's fault was spending to make a liveable and economically sound city, as opposed to Fords slash and burn policies that have proven elsewhere to be very detrimental to economy and the liveable factor for a city. All for the illusion of a few pennies saved, which will end up to be dollars elsewhere. .
cathy / January 17, 2013 at 01:37 pm
Ha ha. So now Del Grande says he'll come back if no one else wants the job and they ask nicely. That took a whole day...
Notahipster / January 17, 2013 at 01:39 pm
Least we don`t have to listen to Del Grande whine that he is going to step down like he has for months.
RealityCheck / January 17, 2013 at 01:41 pm
Re: Robert's comment to CanoeDave...
I don't like Ford and I don't think he should be mayor.... but the City's budget under him have been much more prudent than under Miller, whose approach to budgets was extremely short-sighted. Eg. Amortizing the City's debt over longer periods of time so that funding the debt was the THIRD LARGEST expenditure on the City's books. Eg. Depleting the City's contingency funds. Despite the rhetoric, I don't see that the City has implemented a slash and burn approach in the past two years. I am not against taxation... but the issue is that people want to see VALUE for the taxes they are paying... and as the City's auditor has shown, there were various areas where citizens were not getting good value under Miller.
Notahipster / January 17, 2013 at 01:44 pm
never mind he wants his job back, so he can whine he hates it so much:
CanoeDave replying to a comment from Robert / January 17, 2013 at 04:27 pm
Dear Robert, Miller's problem was that his spending habits and politics were not sustainable. I do not like Ford but just like a household, a City can't keep on spending and increasing debt and pretend that you don't have to pay the piper just as Daddy Dalton has discovered. The best thing that Del Grande said yesterday and is not covered enough by the press is that when Mihevc, who was always just a Miller tool, says that he wants a more transparent budgeting process he is simply blowing smoke and dreaming of the good old days where he was a VIP on the Miller train and got his way in driving through spending increases, tax increases, debt increases and union pandering with virtually no fiscal accountability. Miller was an arrogant and authoritarian con man but a good one who had the absolute control of NDP party discipline and used it to hide the truth from the public just as Daddy Dalton did in the last election. My favourite examples of Miller's "lack of transparency" were in his first term where he "contracted in" Garbage collection in York to reward his union allies and then in his first round of public sector bargaining, without a word to the public, extended the "jobs for like clause" that Lastman had fought against, from 10 years to eternity for all the permanent employees. Miller was very much a servant of the servants whereas Del Grande is a servant of the public.
Notahipster / January 17, 2013 at 06:42 pm
Finally the right wingers are taking over this blog!
Robert replying to a comment from CanoeDave / January 18, 2013 at 10:14 am
Conservatives like yourself never learn that looking into your own pockets is not the best way to run a city. Your methods always fail and generally make things worse. Not sure if you even understand what transparency is. Ford and the suburban councillors rarely exhibit accountability or transparency. For the most part they do not engage or consult their constituants, it all happens in council leaving the 'taxpayer' outside of desicions. Catch phrases, parroted thoughts and the spin of facts do not make your case.
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