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Toronto City Council approves budgets,
enhancing TTC services

Earlier tonight, Wednesday, March 11, Toronto City Council approved the 2015 rate-and-tax-supported operating budget of $11.4 billion and 10-year capital budget and plan of $31.7 billion. With the 2015 budgets the City is significantly investments in key strategic priorities for the City’s future, including transit.

“Today, City Council approved a budget that is focused on getting Toronto moving, putting families first and keeping taxes low,” said Mayor John Tory. “This budget makes important new investments in services and infrastructure, while keeping the residential budget tax increase at 2.25% - less than the rate of inflation - which will help Toronto families.”

“This fiscally prudent budget balances the need to invest in our city, while keeping property tax increases to a minimum,” said Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the City’s Budget Committee. “As we’ve shown in this process, we will continue the disciplined approach to balancing the budget in 2016.”

“Overall, the total 2015 budget tax increase after assessment growth is 1.5%, with a 2.25% increase for residential properties and a 0.75% increase for non-residential properties, in keeping with Council’s tax policy to continue to reduce business taxes in Toronto,” said City Manager Joe Pennachetti.

Residents will pay an extra 0.5% to fund the Scarborough Subway. As part of the City’s overall strategy to enhance Toronto’s business climate, taxpayers can expect another increase of 0.45% for residential properties. Therefore, the total municipal tax increase is 3.2% 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%.

“The major investments that are outlined in this year’s budgets align with the City’s strategic actions by providing additional funding to improve the city’s transportation network, reduce poverty and strengthen our emergency services, while maintaining the City’s fiscal health,” said Rob Rossini, Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer.

The 2015 operating budget maintains all current programs and services and funds new services, including:

  • $39 million to improve TTC service, including funds resulting from increasing fares by ten cents;
  • 50 new buses to operate new express routes and reduce overcrowding;
  • better subway services and more overnight services;

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 approved budget and plan includes $3 billion in new capital investments for transportation and public transit, facilities and shelter and technology,” said Josie LaVita, Executive Director Financial Planning.

The 2015-2024 capital budget and plan also includes:

  • spending $970 million to rehabilitate the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, including an increase of $443.2 million to accelerate projects to reduce the impact on traffic and motorists by about eight years;
  • investing in intelligent transportation systems to control traffic and traffic congestion; and
  • buying 60 new subway cars, 810 new 40-foot (12-metre) diesel buses and 195 low-car accessible light rail vehicles for the TTC fleet to replace older vehicles and accommodate growing numbers of riders.

City Council also approved paying Metrolinx about $90 million for its costs for improving City infrastructure, including roadways and bridges. These improvements resulted from the projects to build the Union Pearson Express line and expand the Georgetown South rail corridor.