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Morning Brew: Toronto heading for surplus and budget cuts, the Scarborough RT is out, Bill Blair under fire, east end Beer Store goes rogue, and a Blue Jays post mortem

Posted by Chris Bateman / August 30, 2013

toronto subwayToronto is on course for a a $167.4-million surplus this year but budget chief Frank Di Giorgio is hoping the final total will be higher. The money came from higher-than-expected revenues from the land-transfer tax and savings from unfilled job vacancies, according to a report to be considered by the budget committee next week. Despite the extra cash, Cllr. Di Giorgio says he's expecting around $250 million in cuts to balance the books in 2014 and reach Rob Ford's goal of cutting the land-transfer tax by 10%.

There's currently no service on the Scarborough RT due to rail problems, according to the TTC. The issue has now been fixed and service has resumed with delays.

Police Chief Bill Blair is taking flack for not doing enough to ensure cops co-operate with investigators. SIU director Ian Scott told the CBC he has flagged 106 cases in which he believes cops didn't do their job as well as they could and only received one response. A spokesman for Bill Blair said the chief is not legally required to respond.

Meanwhile, the police chief is due to make an announcement today on how a review in to use-of-force guidelines will continue following the withdrawal of former justice Dennis O'Connor over a possible conflict of interest.

The city could do a much better job of advertising its vacancies, according to Dave Meslin. In a blog post, the community activist criticizes the dreary and unappealing plain text newspaper notice announcing nominations for the appointment in Ward 3. A long-time beef for Meslin, the dull designs discourage participation, he says. Meanwhile, an Etobicoke man wants to nominate his dog, Ozzy.

An east end Beer Store is going rogue with a new policy of serving customers once per day based on their appearance. The manager told the Star the place is a "zoo" on Fridays and Saturdays and that the store employs its own off-duty police officer for security. Beer Store management says the store isn't following official policy.

A 70-year-old woman has given back $17,000 she found inside a Princess Margaret hospital fundraiser prize. Gloria Lee opened the box she expected to contain an alarm clock and found a wad of money and a small gold bar valued at more than $7,000. A note explained the cash was intended for the hospital as donation to its cancer centre.

Finally, you don't need me to tell you the Blue Jays are having a horrible season. The year the team has been on the receiving end of some cruel blows, which Bruce Arthur at the National Post, a far more qualified writer, has helpfully recalled. It's a horror show.


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

Image: Jason Cook/blogTO Flickr pool.



steve / August 30, 2013 at 08:17 am
I can see were the budget is headed, typical fiscal conservationism. We will be having deficits very soon now. Of course by the time it hits the idiots running the show will be gone and the blame will be shifted.
Yes / August 30, 2013 at 08:18 am
Yes, get rid of the land transfer tax and lower taxes. Music to my ears.
Craig replying to a comment from Yes / August 30, 2013 at 08:26 am
Yes, how do you intend for the city to pay it's bills or fund the Scarborough subway extension?
Ys replying to a comment from Craig / August 30, 2013 at 08:32 am
Who cares about transit i don't use it, shrink the government that will free up money to pay the bills. Too many city workers as it is.
really? replying to a comment from steve / August 30, 2013 at 08:42 am
But we just got rid of the deficits! Remember the Miller years? Shelley Carroll was so incompetent that she'd say not spending everything she borrowed was a surplus

Oh, you're expecting a change of government in the next election.(right? Why else would you expect deficits to return?) Good luck with that

steve, broadcasting your financial illiteracy doesn't help your cause
Craig replying to a comment from Ys / August 30, 2013 at 08:50 am
Ah, you're a troll. Have a nice weekend.
Dave replying to a comment from really? / August 30, 2013 at 08:54 am
If we ever go back to the Miller years or Shelley Carroll, we will all be broke witin a short period of time. The legacy of Miller will always be spending money, raising taxes and negative results.
Craig replying to a comment from Dave / August 30, 2013 at 09:10 am
Dave, isn't Ford's budget this year larger than any one that Miller submitted? Didn't he just raise property taxes by 2.5% this year. Didn't he raise fees on things (playing fields, TTC fares)?

Dave replying to a comment from Craig / August 30, 2013 at 09:27 am
Craig, I would explain inflation too you, but it would be in vain. As far as user fees on issues like the TTC and playing fields etc, there has to be a percentage increase to cover the cost of these services. Many progessive economists feel local transit should have no subsidies and should be self sufficent.
LB / August 30, 2013 at 09:43 am
That beer store realizes there is another store on Parliament, literally 5 minute walk away?

Jahn replying to a comment from Dave / August 30, 2013 at 09:44 am
Canada's inflation rate has been negligible at just over 1%, Dave.

Didn't Ford save a billion dollars? One billion dollars!!!

Why did he need to raise taxes and user fees with all this money he saved the city?
A Taxpayer / August 30, 2013 at 09:50 am
So if a taxpayer is sick of paying higher taxes and tired of a bloated government is a troll. Who knew the burbs are full of trolls. Thankfully the trolls are the only ones voting and now control the agenda.
Adam H. / August 30, 2013 at 10:05 am
"Many progessive economists feel local transit should have no subsidies and should be self sufficent."

And I feel I should be lord of all Toronto and get to wear a shiny hat.
glenn storey replying to a comment from Dave / August 30, 2013 at 10:34 am
bullshit. name ONE economist who feels this way.
steve replying to a comment from really? / August 30, 2013 at 10:43 am
Typical right wing response. A decent person would point out my mistake with real facts and sound reasoning Instead you try to shut me down with childish name calling and twisting words in an effort to boost your ego. .
That leads me to believe i was right in some context.

What deficits are you referring to, Toronto has run a surplus since 1995.

garyT / August 30, 2013 at 10:50 am
The TTC has lower subsidies than any other system in North America. The vast majority of its running costs are paid by riders. Money from various levels of government cover capitol costs. The problem until now has been that that money is unpredictable. There was some push to find funding mechanisms that are self sustaining but these have all been rejected by timid politicians, most recently the provincial NDP. So we pay less, and we get less. Save money by not hiring? Wait until you need a building or parking permit. See how quickly that happens. Bring some out of town visitors downtown for a visit on the weekend and watch as litter and garbage blows down the sidewalks like tumble weeds.
tommy replying to a comment from Adam H. / August 30, 2013 at 10:54 am
The same "progessive" economists will say road infrastructure should be funded on a user level too. No more government road subsidies. I'll pay my full transit fare the day car drivers pay for their highways, overpasses and tunnels. Gas taxes don't cut it.

Oh, but car drivers will say, don't roads benefit all and should be funded by all? Well so does transit, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper per capita than roads.
Dave replying to a comment from glenn storey / August 30, 2013 at 10:57 am
Glenn, try Dr. Michael Roschlau, PhD. President and CEO Canadian Urban Transportation Association
(Ottawa, ON). I know the man personally have we have discussed this topic more than once.
Adam H. / August 30, 2013 at 11:24 am
Why do right-wing trolls keep on screaming about 'getting rid of deficits' when the city hasn't run one since amalgamation?
Dave replying to a comment from Adam H. / August 30, 2013 at 11:46 am
Do you not realize that the city's debt is over $5 billion dollars? Why are the lefties so daft when it comes to finance.
nardl blarn / August 30, 2013 at 11:51 am
If the city have that much of a budget surplus it means they aren't doing their job properly. Let's face it- it's the city's job to SPEND money on Toronto. I would be more confident in their abilities if the city even ended up having a deficit of a million or so instead of a surplus of nearl 170k.
nardl blarn / August 30, 2013 at 11:52 am
i mean 170million obvs
nardl blarn / August 30, 2013 at 11:53 am
It's just so insane that they have this money and refuse to pump it into worthwhile services or even restore funding to some of the services they have cut!
Lee Zamparo replying to a comment from Dave / August 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm
Many progressive economists? Like who? Citation required.
Craig replying to a comment from Dave / August 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Dave, should I explain to you that Debt and Deficit are two different things?

I've come to realize that you are just a paid shill, not a troll, here (and I assume other boards) to muddy the waters and not provide debate.
David replying to a comment from steve / August 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm
The city is not permitted to run a deficit.
Adam H. / August 30, 2013 at 01:03 pm
Do you not realize that debt financing is how cities around the world pay for infrastructure, and that Toronto's debt to revenue ratio is not only capped, but is part of what gives the city such a high credit rating?

Right-wing trolls like to deceive about these sorts of things, don't you?
Jahn / August 30, 2013 at 01:07 pm
The only thing that Rob Ford has saved is Charmin. Dave keeps his backside nice and clean!
really? replying to a comment from steve / August 30, 2013 at 01:26 pm
You're nothing if not consistent in either being wrong and a victim when you are called out on it


Facts are facts, your opinion doesn't change them
No, You Dont replying to a comment from Dave / August 30, 2013 at 02:11 pm
Next time you and Dr. Roschlau "discuss the topic," Dave, you might want to take some notes, since what you claim above is a complete misrepresentation of his views. Thanks in advance.
Dave replying to a comment from Mayor McGrabass / August 30, 2013 at 07:00 pm
I am sensing envy here.
Dave replying to a comment from Mayor McGrabass / August 30, 2013 at 09:31 pm
Actually I don't pity you as the world needs ditch diggers too. You do reek of desparation though. You clearly cannot hange with the intellects.
Dave replying to a comment from Me / August 31, 2013 at 09:19 am
Its German for hang.
Dave replying to a comment from Mayor McGrabass / August 31, 2013 at 04:03 pm
I see desparation setting in...yawn
Dave replying to a comment from Mayor McGrabass / September 1, 2013 at 08:36 am
Speaking of trash:
1) Torontonians are very happy with outsourced trash collection and favour more of it
2) Olivia Chow and Jack lied about their incomes (she claimed her mother's income instead of her own) to defraud taxpayers. Maybe she deducted Jack's "rub'n'tug" expenses too.
What were you saying about hypocrite?
Mjp / September 1, 2013 at 09:25 am
How much did privatizing trash collection save, again? Vs the human cost of how many lost jobs? Either way, the Globe pointed out this weekend that Ford is confusing borrowing and debt, which doesn't exactly install confidence in his ability to manage either.. Or to tell the truth, really. And David is right: it's illegal for Toronto to run a deficit in its budget.
Dave replying to a comment from Mjp / September 1, 2013 at 09:30 am
Wow - what an intelligent response to facts!
And classy too!
You claim a higher moral ground? Hilarious!!
Mjp / September 1, 2013 at 11:03 am
No, I was *actually* asking - how much did it save? And how many jobs were lost? You have facts, I'd assume, based on your saying that no one else does. I *want* to believe in the mayor of my city! And now I'm asking where you gave any facts, for real.
Dave replying to a comment from Mjp / September 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Typical Union nonsense - drag your butt all day so you can claim overtime. Nothing like getting paid double and triple time for working late? huh?
Danielle / December 27, 2013 at 07:39 am
The unmistakable run of a barbel commenced with the fish surging
some 30-40 yards downstream despite a tight clutch.

This time I felt the angler log line for a year. This take results in quite
the crash on the surface - referred to as Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

The first hook is a little bigger than the roach I had become accustomed to,
before a nice perch just shy of that point and 'sweep' the rod horizontally away from
the stress and bustle.
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