So, $27.6-million down. About $472-million to $746-million to go (depending on what shortfall figures you believe). City council signed off on several budgetary cuts on the long and winding road to balancing its books by January. The list was first scaled back by the Mayor’s executive, and then whittled down further on Tuesday. The National Post’s Natalie Alcoba takes you through the final tally.
What goes, what stays
Council sided with the executive on some of the more controversial proposals, so libraries are not slated to close next year, suburban residents will still enjoy windrow clearing and arts grants are in tact. Councillors did vote to stop offering four free garbage tags, to eliminate horticulture programs and plant fewer trees. They scrapped the requirement to have police officers at construction sites, where possible, and will ask an outside group to run the Christmas Bureau. Council also voted to sell, privatize or come up with another operating model for the Toronto Zoo and the city’s three theatres, plus make Heritage Toronto a not-for profit organization. Instead of closing low-attendance museums, it asked staff to look at having Heritage Toronto run the small facilities. Council also voted against the Mayor and saved community environment days, preserved the public realm program, and continued to staff the Toronto Youth Cabinet and the Seniors Forum. At the end of the day, council balked at about $600,000 worth of cuts, said city manager Joseph Pennachetti, making the ultimate savings about $27.6-million. Other cost-cutting proposals for affordable housing, shelter animal pickup, environmental programs, heritage grants, dental programs for the poor and library-hour reductions will be considered as part of the upcoming budget process.
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