Toronto Sunrise

Morning Brew: Public works committee sends service cuts to executive committee, a new GTA area code on the way, a closer look at the 2012 budget, and 200 Wellesley fire lawsuit gets go ahead

And it begins. Toronto's public works committee met yesterday to comb through a KPMG report on excess services in the public works and infrastructure budget, but ultimately decided to give the cost-cutting responsibility to Mayor Rob Ford's Executive Committee. Suggested sources of saving in the report include cutting back on snow plowing and removing fluoride from drinking water. The committee heard from nearly 30 speakers, with many raising objections to the various proposals. Councillor Adam Vaughan called the committee's indecision "gutless."

Apparently, this is the least sexy of the KPMG reports. The latest report, obtained by the National Post, details merging 3-1-1 with 2-1-1- (because, basically, they're the same number, right?) and allowing residents to pay for their utility bills online, which would reduce manual labour to process payments. Oh, and it also says 98 per cent of government management services are mandatory or essential. Of course.

Move over 416 and 647: there might be a new trio of digits in town. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Monday that a decision about adding a third Toronto area code will be made in the next couple of weeks. Last July, the CRTC said that existing GTA area code limits would be exhausted by 2015. Soon it won't suck to have a 647 number.

From The Grid, Edward Keenan explains what the city's budget numbers really mean. Rob Ford says there's a $774-million deficit, while Councillor Gord Perks argues there's a $350-million surplus. The thing is: they're both right.


Photo by Greg David in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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