Jan 31, 2014
By Scott Walker
Toronto City Council has passed the 2014 budget.
After two marathon sessions, and several exchanges that could form the basis for a reality TV series called Councillors Behaving Badly, the budget passed overwhelmingly.
The $9.6-billion financial plan calls for a 2.23 per cent property tax increase. That translates to just under $57 added onto the bill of the average taxpayer. But then there’s an increase to the current value assessment that adds about another half a percentage point onto the bill. The revenue goes to the province, but the total tax bill for residential property owners will be $68.59. You can find the breakdown here.
Mayor Rob Ford logged one of the nine negative votes. He repeated his claim that the budget would never have passed if council hadn’t stripped him of his powers. But Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly called it a good budget. He has pointed out the tax increase this year is smaller than last year’s, when Ford was at the helm.
The budget maintains all services at current levels, and adds some new ones. There will be more front-line paramedics and police officers. The student nutrition program will be expanded and more child care spaces will be added. There will be new libraries, and expanded library hours, increased support for the arts, and restored funding for the High Park Zoo.