Mayor John Tory stands firm on low taxes in the face of massive budget shortfall, declining city services and the looming threat of the city running out of money.
The mayor will outline a $2-billion spending plan Thursday that includes a record $600-million operating budget for this year and the largest operating expenditure since 2008.
The spending plan will include:
$250 million to hire 1,300 new police, fire and city workers.
$150 million to expand the Public Works department and make improvements to the streets.
$200 million for the city’s basic services, such as garbage, heating and water, which Tory has said he intends to eliminate.
$90 million in spending on education and youth services.
$55 million on infrastructure to deal with an “explosion” of infrastructure costs.
A total of $200 million for road projects, including a four-lane divided highway, which Tory says will increase the city’s capacity.
“When you talk about infrastructure, you have to start with a very clear picture to show what you’re trying to fund,” he said.
Coun. John Parker also announced $60 million in additional funding, which he said would be used to extend water and sewer infrastructure and a $30-million fund for community and youth programming, which Parker and Tory have said they are looking to redirect to support city services.
The spending plan, which comes after months of negotiations, also proposes the elimination of 10 street repairs and the cancellation of a pair of planned projects to clean up St. James’s Park in the spring and summer.
It also calls for $45 million to improve infrastructure at the Canadian War Museum and the Toronto-York Spadina subway station, and $14 million to expand the TTC’s streetcar network.
Despite his plan to end street repairs, Tory has not yet said how he’ll pay for the $550-million needed to cover the operating budget