City Council approves 2015 City of Toronto Budget

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Toronto City Council has approved the 2015 rate and tax supported operating budget of $11.4 billion and 10-year capital budget and plan of $31.7 billion. The 2015 budgets make significant investments in key strategic priorities for the City’s future, including transit, poverty reduction and public safety. The budget continues to strengthen the City’s fiscal health and for the third year in a row, the budget was balanced without the use of the prior year’s surplus. 

Residents will pay an additional 0.5 percent to fund the Scarborough Subway. As part of the City’s overall strategy to enhance Toronto’s business climate, there will be an additional increase of 0.45 percent for residential properties. Therefore, the total municipal tax increase is 3.2 percent or $83.19, which means the average house assessed at $524,833 will pay $2,679 in 2015. The total tax increase for non-residential properties, which includes rental apartments, is 0.48 percent.

The budget also includes a strategy for the City to permanently deal with the loss of the revenue to fund social housing in a responsible and prudent manner. This strategy will spread the budget impacts of the funding shortfall over the next four years to allow time for the City to identify budget adjustments and to mitigate costs. For 2015, this means an additional $25 million in budget savings with no impact to City services. 

The 2015 Operating Budget maintains all current programs and services and provides funding for new and enhanced services, including:
• $39 million in transit service improvements funded by a 10-cent fare increase including the child fare elimination (two to 12 years of age), 50 new buses to implement new express routes and reduce overcrowding, improved subway services and expanded overnight bus and streetcar service
• $25 million for poverty reduction including new shelter beds, increases to the student nutrition program, additional funding for childcare subsidies, enhanced shelter warming centres during weather events and expansion of priority centres
• 56 new paramedic services positions and an additional 25 fire prevention officers
• additional positions for City Planning to carry out heritage and area studies, and
• increased City funding for tree planting.

City Council also approved a 2015-2024 tax and rate supported Capital Budget and Plan of $31.7 billion. The 10-Year Capital Plan continues to advance the City’s long-term fiscal plan objectives and focuses on infrastructure rehabilitation.

The 2015-2024 Capital Budget and Plan also includes:
• $970 million for the rehabilitation of the F.G. Gardiner Expressway, including an increase of $443.2 million to accelerate projects to reduce traffic and user impacts by an estimated eight years
• investments in traffic control (RESCU) and traffic congestion management through intelligent transportation systems initiatives
• the purchase of 60 new subway cars, 810 new 40-foot diesel buses and 195 low-car accessible light rail vehicles for the TTC fleet for replacement and ridership growth
• New McNicoll bus garage and completion of the Toronto Rocket Storage Yard
• A total of $627 million for Parks, Forestry and Recreation to address the state-of-good-repair backlog over the next 10 years, and
• Construction of new fire and paramedic services stations.

At its meeting, City Council also approved the rate supported budgets for Solid Waste Management Services, Toronto Water and the Toronto Parking Authority.

Solid Waste Management Services’ approved budget includes a rate increase of 3 percent as of April 1, which equates to a 2.25 percent increase for 2015. In addition, the Solid Waste rebate was reduced by $18 million as part of the tax supported budget, which will result in a rebate change for single family customers based on garbage bin size (see Fact Sheet for details bit.ly/1MsCi4N). As a result, small bin customers will now pay $10.63 per year (increase of $3.91), medium bin customers will pay $88.73 per year (increase of $32.64), large bin customers will pay $247.39 per year (increase of $91)
and extra large bin customers will pay $343.60 per year (increase of $126.39). This change is a first step in establishing a sustainable full user-pay program that improves waste diversion.

Toronto Water’s rate supported budget focuses on providing high quality drinking water and wastewater services while dealing with the impact of extreme weather, aging infrastructure and the need to provide ongoing customer service enhancements. City Council approved an 8 percent water rate increase as of March 13, which equates to a 6.5 percent increase for 2015 (a $54 increase compared with 2014 for the average Toronto household using 280 cubic metres). The 10-year $11 billion capital plan includes more than $8.2 billion in spending on state of good repair, basement flooding protection, stormwater
management and improving the City’s resiliency to extreme weather.

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