Close theatres, reduce snow removal: A snapshot of proposed city cuts

Here are 10 areas of spending mentioned in city manager Joe Pennachetti’s recommendations for cost-cutting in the face of a $774 million budget gap expected in 2012.

Child care

The situation: Of 53,000 daycare spaces in Toronto, about 22,000 are subsidized jointly by the province and the city. An additional 2,000 are subsidized by the city alone at a cost of $24 million. A record 20,000 people are on the waiting list for subsidized daycare.

The recommendation: Reduce the 2,000 city-subsidized spaces through attrition in 2012 and cut them entirely in 2013, unless the province steps forward with cash to save them.

Libraries

The situation: The Toronto Public Library has 98 branches. More than a million people held library cards in 2010, 200,000 more than in 2009.

Recommendation: Reduce branch hours and days of operation. Consider closing some branches. Pennachetti’s report does not identify branches that could be closed.

TTC

The situation: Ridership has risen steadily since 2003 and now serves about 1.5 million riders every weekday. Many routes operate at capacity, and officials expect a bump of 15 million more rides next year. But the TTC faces an $85 million operating shortfall, and Mayor Rob Ford said he does not want a fare hike.

The recommendation: Consider reducing or eliminating Blue Night service (24 routes that run between 1:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.) or charging higher fares for it. Change the TTC’s “crowding standard” to increase the threshold before more vehicles are added to busy routes.

Click here for the full article