Mayor Ford Urges Torontonians to Identify “Must Haves” & “Nice to Haves” For Spending Cuts

Mayor Ford Urges Torontonians to Identify “Must Haves” & “Nice to Haves” For Spending Cuts

This is an update to the following previous blogs:

More than 300 Torontonians attend the City of Toronto Executive Committee meeting today regarding the Core Service Review of Programs to discuss and debate over city hall budget cuts in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

If you want to  know who is going to be giving their deputations, please click here for the Executive Committee – Speakers List – July 28, 2011; EX8.1 – Core Service Review.

The Toronto Star is livestreaming it, too.

Please click here to get Toronto Star’s filing of live reports throughout the day of the deputations as the Star’s City Hall Bureau is covering this marathon session and debate over city hall budget cuts.

The essentials of Mayor Rob Ford’s remarks to the City of Toronto Executive Committee are as follows:

  • to take the time to figure out which things are “must haves” and which things are “nice to haves.”
      1. As a first step, we asked KPMG to look at the city’s spending and report back on which spending items are “must haves” – things that are required by law or essential to the operation of the city.
      2. And, we asked them to report which spending items were “nice to haves.”
      3. They’ve completed that work and today’s meeting is the last of a series of meetings where they report their findings.
      4. This is the beginning of the process. Not the end.
      5. As of today, not a penny of spending has been changed in any budget.
      6. All that has happened is that spending has been listed and put into categories for discussion.
      7. Today, we will hear what you have to say about what’s important to you.
      8. That information will go forward, with the KPMG report and a report from the City Manager, to the September special Executive meeting where we will begin to identify our priorities.
  • Those priorities – combined with a review of how to improve efficiency –  plus a user fee review – will then go to council for decision as part of the 2012 budget process which will finish in January.”

Here are Mayor Rob Ford’s remarks as he addresses the City of Toronto Executive Committee regarding Core Service Review of Programs:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

News Release

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Remarks for an Address by His Worship Mayor Rob Ford to City of Toronto Executive Committee

Good Morning and welcome to the meeting to consider the Core Service Review of Programs that fall under the mandate of the Executive Committee.

Before we get started this morning, I’d like to thank my Standing Committee chairs who have already chaired seven meetings as part of this process – and all the Councillors on those committees who have already spent a good amount of time working through this process.

I’d like thank City staff for their hard work launching this process – and the hard work that has yet to come.

But, mostly, I’d like to thank the thousands of taxpayers who have sent emails to my office or participated in this process up to this point. This process is one of the biggest community consultations in Toronto history.

And, I’d also like to thank the hundreds of residents who are here this morning to be part of this process. We are here to listen to you.

This meeting is one part of a long process that involves many steps. This process is necessary for one simple reason.

For years, our city has spent more money than it brings in. Instead of fixing the problem, we’ve kept passing the buck to “next year.” Well, next year has arrived.  It’s time we fixed the problem.

What we’re doing with this core service review is the same thing every family in every household across the city does every day.

But it’s something this city has never done – in fact, I don’t know of any city in Canada that’s ever done what we’re doing.

Every year, we’ve added expense after expense to our budget. We’ve added some “must have” spending and a lot of “nice to have” spending.  Now, we spend more than we can afford.

Public libraries. Child care. Seniors. Affordable Housing. Safe roads. Clean water. Clean air. Sewers that don’t flood basements. Beaches safe for swimming. Parks ready to play in. Garbage collection. Ambulances. Fire services. Policing. Community Centres. Recreation programs. Public Health…  the list goes on and on.

These are all important things. Are libraries more important than Child Care? Is policing more important than safe roads? You tell me.

That’s why we’re here today. To listen… so we can begin to set priorities.

If we are going to reduce spending… and ladies and gentlemen, we must reduce our spending… it only makes sense to take the time to figure out which things are “must haves” and which things are “nice to haves.”

Because, it makes sense to look at “nice to haves” first.

That’s what this process is about.

As a first step, we asked KPMG to look at the city’s spending and report back on which spending items are “must haves” – things that are required by law or essential to the operation of the city. And, we asked them to report which spending items were “nice to haves.”

They’ve completed that work and today’s meeting is the last of a series of meetings where they report their findings.

I want to stress something that has been lost in the media coverage over the past two weeks. This is the beginning of the process. Not the end.

As of today, not a penny of spending has been changed in any budget.

All that has happened is that spending has been listed and put into categories for discussion.

We’ve started a great public debate about what is “must have” and what is “nice to have” – and that’s exactly the point.

Today, we will hear what you have to say about what’s important to you.

That information will go forward, with the KPMG report and a report from the City Manager, to the September special Executive meeting where we will begin to identify our priorities.

Those priorities – combined with a review of how to improve efficiency –  plus a user fee review – will then go to council for decision as part of the 2012 budget process which will finish in January.

Office of Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto
City Hall
100 Queen St. W. 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON  M5H 2N2

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