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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

Toronto 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.

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