Toronto, Ontario, Canada
February 11, 2011
Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer presents Toronto’s 2012 Outlook and Long Term Fiscal Plan to Budget Committee
At the City of Toronto’s Budget Committee meeting yesterday, City staff presented a 2012 Outlook and Long Term Fiscal Plan update to help the Committee and City Council plan for next year in a sustainable, affordable and well-managed way.
The City’s proposed 2011 budget will go before Council for consideration starting February 23. The budget achieves the Mayor’s budget directions and is balanced; includes no major service cuts; and does not include increases to either residential or non-residential property tax rates.
In the longer term, however, Toronto’s operating funding shortfall will require the City to reduce spending and increase revenues in order to eliminate the funding gap, Cam Weldon told the Budget Committee.
The starting financial pressure in 2012 is projected to be $530 million assuming a modest surplus in 2011 and a property tax increase at the rate of inflation in 2012. Offsetting this pressure will take a concerted effort over the coming months.
The cost of providing 2011 services and service levels in 2012 is impacted by:
- Cost of living adjustments
- Inflationary impact on expenditures and user fees
- Annualized costs, savings and revenues of prior year initiatives implemented part-year
- Termination of non recurring or one time revenues and/or expenditures
“The vision for the City’s Long Term Fiscal Plan is to be sustainable, affordable and well managed and today we are outlining how we will get there,” said City Manager Joe Pennachetti.
Yesterday’s presentation included a Long Term Fiscal Plan update noting that the City’s debt should be held to a manageable level, and used only for long-lasting assets. User fees should be competitive with other cities in the 905 area, and also that the City’s assets need to be maintained in a state of good repair.
“Strategies to balance the 2012 Budget should include major cost reduction; increase predictable, sustainable revenue sources; and Provincial assistance for operating the TTC,” said Weldon.
The proposed action plan includes short-term and medium/long-term initiatives. Short-term initiatives include service level and efficiency reviews in City divisions and its agencies, boards and commissions; developing a comprehensive user fee policy; procurement policy and practice review; and an asset monetization review.
In the medium/long-term, the City needs to address the funding relationship with other orders of Government, including seeking 50 per cent TTC operating funding; social housing upload/National Housing Strategy; and sharing of HST.
City staff also recommended other options for reaching our long term goals such as no service expansions; continuing cost reductions; and keeping tax increases at the rate of inflation.
In spite of the challenges, Toronto’s strength is that it has one of the highest possible credit ratings, residential property tax rates are among lowest in Ontario and the revenue base is more diversified than average.
The 2012 Outlook and Long Term Fiscal Plan, as well as Qs and As, are available at http://www.toronto.ca/budget2011.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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