Councillor Shelley Carroll

Find out the latest news and upcoming events in your neighborhood. Politics, news, views, and links from Ward 33 Councillor Shelley Carroll.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Feb18 - Need Input ASAP

It is decision time now. The Province has just announced the full extent of its 2005 funding for the TTC and the City of Toronto Social and Public Health Services. They have come a long way but there is still a shortfall. We have done very thorough analysis this year and used efficiencies just about everywhere to fund any new initiative necessary to the good health of the City. As described earlier in the blog, we have performed exhaustive reviews of the TTC and the Toronto Police Services and found them to be as efficient as possible while always ensuring the safety of Toronto citizens.

I am including a link to the Provincial announcement. There is no doubt that Premier McGuinty understands our situation. Just as Mayor Miller promised no more than 3% property tax increase a year, the Premier confined himself to a 0% tax increase leaving little room to repair years of damage. The announcement focuses on what is being provided and leaves the balance of the shortfall to us. We are making fantastic headway on a return to the Federal and Provincial funding of the TTC but we are not quite there yet. We are seeing some no strings attached money to promote the business sector and to enhance public health but we remain under funded in downloaded social services.

Here is where you come in:

Monday morning will see a range of options presented to City Council to offset the remaining shortfall in our budget. A further increase of property taxes to a total increase of 4 or 5% may be put before us (average impact of $12 a month). This gives us the ability to raise commercial taxes by 2 to 2.5%. These tax increases would bring us in line with increases in the rest of the GTA. It is important to note that property taxes make up only about six cents of your total tax dollar but, on the other hand, sharp increases could upset that ratio in a few short years.

There will also be a range of reductions to our own budget proposed at council. A detailed list of areas where we do not receive the full Provincial 80 % share is being prepared for Monday and popular wisdom suggests we should look to these areas to reduce programs as this would result in artificially acheiving the 80/20 cost share split. These areas include the welfare fraud prevention and control office, paramedic facilities and teams and homeless shelter beds.

Pressure to raise our taxes is already coming from the GTA. You may have read about this in the paper already. York Region and Peel Region are both imposing increases of over 5% and are being quite vocal about Toronto's thus far refusal to do so.

I need your comment back about all of this ASAP. I feel you must have an opportunity for input since we have not looked at a higher increase at all before this afternoon. Feel free to foward this link to any Torontonian. I need input all weekend long and will share with my fellow BAC members and Council. Go ahead, hit the comment button please!