By Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction News staff writer
Toronto’s proposed 2020 capital budget includes the most significant investment that the city has ever made in state-of-good repair of the transit system and “will allow the city to move up planned capital work and complete it faster.”
The budget committee has started the annual process of reviewing staff-recommended tax-supported operating and capital budgets for 2020. They will be reviewed and debated by budget and executive committees before being approved by City Council at its February 19 meeting.
“With $67 million in new or enhanced investments, this staff-proposed budget does make important investments in key areas that I know our residents want us to invest in including community safety, transit, affordable housing, and the environment,” Mayor John Tory said in a press release. “These investments will help protect and continue our city’s success.”
As it stands now, the operating budget will be $13.5 billion for this year, including $67 million in new investments to address key commitments, such as road safety, climate change, public safety, affordable housing, transit, and poverty reduction.
If all staff-recommended tax-supported spending is approved, the 10-year capital plan will exceed $43.4 billion. According to a Jan. 10 media release, the modernized capital plan prioritizes “achievability and affordability”, that considers the Toronto’s capacity and the market’s ability to complete capital projects within the calendar year.
It also proposes the development of a Capital Asset Management Plan and addresses the importance of continuing and new partnerships with other governments.
“Toronto faces a number of regional pressures, including exceptional population growth and increased need for public housing and transit across the Greater Toronto Area,” Tory said, adding that the recommended budget includes $77 million in continued federal support to ease significant strain on our shelter system from an ongoing influx of refugee claimants and asylum seekers.
The 2020 budget proposes an overall average increase of 1.43 per cent for residents, a one per cent increase for commercial properties and a 0.66 per cent increase for industrial properties. There will be no increase for multi-residential/apartment buildings, as per provincial legislation.
The public can share their views with the Budget Committee at public presentations, scheduled to take place on January 20 and 21. More information about how to make a deputation is available at app.toronto.ca/tmmis.