Toronto budget cuts

City council slashes small portion of 2012 budget

The two-day special city council meeting to debate core service cuts resulted in the approval of roughly $27-million in reductions to the 2012 Toronto Budget. Regardless of what figure you believe as far as the City's total shortfall goes, that means that plenty of cuts will be on the table when the budget process formally gets underway later this year. Typically, Mayor Rob Ford claimed that the approved cuts were proof that his oft-mentioned gravy does exist. "This is a huge victory," he told reporters. "Childcare saved. Libraries saved. We don't reduce grass cutting in the parks. It's a win-win for everyone. This is an example. There is waste at city hall."

Left-leaning councillors, on the other hand, revealed cautious optimism that some services were saved. "It's great that council could come together and protect some of the city's critical services," said Adam Vaughan. "But it's bittersweet -- all we do is protect them for now. The budget process could visit more cuts to things like the library system and other programs." And so it continues. Here are some highlights from yesterday's votes.

Services Not Approved for Cuts

  • The Neighbourhood Improvement Program
  • Snow plowing, windrow clearing, and grass cutting in parks
  • The closure of unspecified city-run museums was rejected for now (a motion was passed to investigate whether or not Heritage Toronto could be a viable operator of them)
  • Community Environment Days
  • The Toronto Public Parking Authority will not be sold
  • The Riverdale Farm will be given until spring to find a new operating model
  • Heritage Toronto and Fort York will remain city-run for now

Approved Cuts

  • Paid duty police officers at construction sites
  • The Christmas Bureau was voted down
  • The Hardship Fund (which aids low income residents with medical cost) was chopped
  • Four free garbage bags are no more
  • The Metro Toronto Zoo will be put up for sale
  • Council approved the proposal to sell the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and the Toronto Centre for the Arts

Photo by Michael Leland in the blogTO Flickr pool


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