Morning Brew: Ballooning police budget, doubling police presence on the TTC, CRTC favours fee-for-carriage, LCBO accused of misspending

Police services account for up about one quarter of the City of Toronto's operating budget property tax haul (i.e. they require a huge amount of taxpayer money to operate). Check out page 15 of the City-issued "Our Toronto" newsletter (PDF), which should arrive at your door soon if it hasn't already. Part of the problem is ballooning salaries and spending patterns, and now former budget chief David Soknacki is suggesting that the Province get involved by setting pay standards.

On a related note, Toronto Police are looking to double the number of officers patrolling the TTC. There's no doubt that security could be enhanced on public transit and in subway stations (sledgehammers are scary, aren't they?), but it's not easy to balance the benefits with the inherent financial costs and associated labour issues.

The CRTC made a major conditional decision in favour of "fee-for-carriage" that would allow broadcasters to charge signal providers to carry their programs. Rogers and Bell are concerned that it'll cost the consumer and/or lead to blackouts, while the broadcasters insist the fees will enhance local television program and news production.

The LCBO is under fire yet again for alleged misspending of taxpayer money. The Toronto Sun reveals that a number of "previously undisclosed" pre-board meeting dinners by high level execs totaling more than $17,000 (with a minimum of $5,581 being spent on booze) were expensed between January 2007 and May 2009.

And last night we received a "leaked" news tip and an offer for exclusive story break (from an unlikely source) suggesting that a little-known car rental company was going to make a hefty bid to rename and redesign the CN Tower. Until the CN Tower's naming and design rights actually enter a tendering process, it's my belief that this is little more than a far-fetched idea with little chance of becoming reality... and not much more than a marketing ploy to get said little known company's name out there at the bargain price of a single press release. And I'm sure the ploy will be marginally successful... if you choose to click it... and given that we're writing/reading about it here right now... and elsewhere... I guess.

Photo: untitled by bigdaddyhame, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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