Feb 18, 2016

By Jane Brown

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Toronto Police have been spared a big cut to their $1-billion budget by city councillors. But Police Chief Mark Saunders and members of a new task force have been put on notice by council to fundamentally change policing and contain runway costs.

A motion by Councillor Michael Thompson to cut $25-million from the police budget was rejected yesterday.

Chief Mark Saunders says reform is going to happen for next year, based on a number of considerations and answered questions.

“Do we need to do what we are doing? Can other people do it? Does it have to be a uniformed officer? What technology is out there that’s available to us to utilize to enhance delivering our police services? Looking at our footprint, do we need seventeen divisions to run the entire city of Toronto? Yes or no. Does it have to be the size that they are right now? Yes or no. Our business processes, can they be more virtual? Can we have different methods of taking calls?” Chief Saunders asked during an appearance on CP24.

Overall, Toronto city Council passed a taxpayer supported $10.1-billion operating budget and $21-billion capital spending plan, with a 1.3 percent property tax increase.

The total hike, including a Scarborough subway surcharge, comes to just under 2.7 percent, which amounts to just over $72 on the tax bill of an average detached Toronto home worth just under $550,000.

Mayor John Tory relented on one point, adding $1.25 million for child care subsidies.

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