City Council approves balanced budget that invests in social infrastructure and housing

Toronto City Council has approved a 2017 tax-supported operating budget of $10.5 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $26.5 billion. The 2017 budgets maintain current service levels and make important investments in key strategic priorities."Today, City Council approved a balanced, responsible budget that invests in the needs of the people who live and work in Toronto," said Mayor John Tory. "This budget delivers significant new funding for transit, child care and housing. Through the City Building Fund, we will begin to make much-needed investments in transit expansion and major infrastructure repair.""The 2017 budget ensures we continue to deliver City services efficiently and effectively," said Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the City's Budget Committee. "Through the budget process, the City found about $188 million in expenditure changes and savings which will help ensure that we keep our city affordable for residents."The 2017 operating budget maintains current programs and services and provides funding for $43 million in new and enhanced services, including investments in poverty reduction, childcare and community wellness, safe transportation, environmental sustainability and city building. In addition, $37 million more is being provided to Toronto Community Housing to address operational needs and to finance the completion of Regent Park Phase 3 Revitalization."The budget is consistent with Council expense policy and service direction and remains neutral in terms of overall revenue burden as a share of the economy," said City Manager Peter Wallace. "I encourage Council to continue to address the cost drivers for City services and agencies, and look at stable revenue options to strengthen our fiscal sustainability."A number of new revenue options were approved by Council to help fund the operating budget, including harmonization of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) with the province's rates, a proposed hotel tax, changes to the commercial tax ratio and a phased elimination of the vacancy rebate. The City also increased the MLTT First-Time Home Buyers rebate from $3,725 to $4,475."While the significant growth in the MLTT and new revenue options allowed us to balance the budget and reduce our reliance on bridging strategies, I encourage Council to continue to address the fiscal gap that the City faces each year to ensure we can provide stable funding for Council-directed priorities for services and infrastructure," said Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer Rob Rossini.City Council approved a 2017-2026 tax supported capital budget and plan of $26.5 billion of which the majority of funding is allocated to transit and transportation infrastructure ($20 billion or 74%). The 10-year capital plan includes $5.8 billion in new investments to fund critical unmet needs including:• Federal Public Transit Infrastructure Funding projects ($709 million)• F.G. Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation Plan B ($863 million debt)• Smart Track ($3.8 billion)• Flood protection for the Portlands ($1.2 billion), and• Reducing the state-of-good-repair backlog at Toronto Public Library ($21 million)."The City is focused on building the necessary social and physical infrastructure to support Toronto's growth and maintain the city's aging infrastructure in a state of good repair," said Josie La Vita, Executive Director of Financial Planning. "Notwithstanding the $26.5 billion funded in the Capital Plan, Council has identified a number of capital projects that remain unfunded."Overall, the 2017 budget tax increase after assessment growth is 1.39%, with a 2% increase for residential properties, 1% increase for commercial properties and a 0.67% for industrial properties in support of Council's tax policy to enhance the City's business climate. There will be no increase for multi-residential or rental apartment buildings as per new provincial legislation.Residents will pay an additional 0.5% for the City Building Fund which supports important infrastructure projects such as transit and housing. With the City's overall strategy to enhance Toronto's business climate and reassessment impact, there will be an additional increase of 0.7% for residential properties, bringing the total municipal tax increase to 3.29%. The average house assessed at $587,471 will incur an additional $90 in municipal property taxes for a total of $2,835 for 2017.Council approved changes to the solid waste single family bin rates and rebates that will continue to transition the program to a sustainable utility and help to further incent to residents to maximize waste diversion efforts for recycling and organics composting. As a result of a 2% rate increase approved by Council on December 15, 2016 and a rebate reduction for medium, large and extra-large bins approved by Council at its meeting today, in 2017 small bin customers will pay $22.66 per year (increase of $4.90), medium bin customers will pay $139.32 per year (increase of $23.94), large bin customers will pay $339.21 per year (increase of $44.07) and extra-large bin customers will pay $477.44 per year (increase of $66.21).More information about the City's budget and the budget process is available at

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