2016 Budget - Who's left out?
Dear friend --
A new year is here and the cold weather has arrived – two clear signs that the City Hall budget season has begun.
At its core, the annual debate on our City's budget is about people. Decisions made during the budget process immediately affect how we live in our city; how we interact with our parks and greenspaces; how we get around – whether on foot, bike, transit or car; and how we support each other.
In this budget cycle, we need your help.
The fact is that this year, the proposed budget does not include the resources to maintain the city and services we have, let alone the resources to invest and build the city we want.
So, who's left out?
This year's operating budget does not include the resources to continue our 24-hour winter cold-weather drop-in program in 2016/2017; a program that saves lives.
It does not include the resources to continue our Youth Employment Program that helps young people get a start.
It does not include the Council directed new Fire Prevention Officers to help educate our friends and neighbours, and keep our communities safe.
And it does not include a number of critical services recommended by the Mayor's Task Force to improve the lives of over 100,000 of our neighbours living in Toronto Community Housing.
These are just a few of the critical programs that are left out of this year's proposed budget – programs that help us take care of each other, build green and sustainable communities, and work together to build our City – and there are countless more programs and services that are left out.
These are programs that residents of Toronto need and rely on, but that is not all. In our City today, we also have more than $22 billion in unfunded infrastructure projects - Waterfront revitalization initiatives, Smart-track, repairing and maintaining the 60,000 Toronto Community Housing units we have, building affordable housing to support the 95,000 households on our City's waiting list, and basic TTC maintenance and improvements. Again, these are just a few of the many unfunded infrastructure projects that our city needs to support residents and strengthen our economy.
For the last two decades our city's population has steadily grown. Meanwhile, our revenue has steadily declined since 2012. Simply put, as our city has grown, our budget to support Toronto residents has not.
The proposed 2016 budget further demonstrates this. We have a revenue problem and the result is that far too many of our residents and neighbours are being left out. It's time to have a conversation around the kitchen table, at your local community centre, and at City Hall, about the City we want to build and the revenue we need to get us there.
There are many ways to get involved to help us ensure that this budget supports our City, and that we can continue to build in the years to come. Take a look at the information below to find out how you can help. The budget process can be inaccessible and complex. However, getting involved with the City's budget is crucial. You can click here to review the proposed department-by-department 2016 budget.
Toronto is a great city, there's no question about that. But, in order to build a city for the future, we're going to need to invest again – in people, services, and infrastructure. In this budget cycle, help us do just that.
I look forward to talking to you throughout this process and ensuring that the budget reflects the needs of our communities. Please contact my office at any time if you have any questions.
Get Involved in the 2016 Budget
1 – Come to my Ward 20 Budget Town Hall on Monday January 25, 7-9pm, at the Centre for Social Innovation. This year, we are holding a joint town hall with Councillor Layton and our neighbours in Ward 19. Hear more information about what this budget means for our neighbourhoods, what is left out, and share your thoughts we me before Council votes on the Budget in February.
Councillors Joe Cressy & Mike Layton's City Budget Town Hall
Monday January 25, 7pm-9pm
CSI – Annex – Ground Floor in the room called "The Garage"
720 Bathurst Street (south of Bathurst St and Bloor St W)
Enter through the main doors
2 – Complete my Ward 20 Budget Questionnaire to tell me what your priorities are in this year's budget – click here to complete the questionnaire.
3 – Speak at Budget Committee to share your views – there will be public deputation sessions held at:
City Hall, Committee Room 1 (100 Queen Street West)
January 12, 9:30am and 6pm (and onwards)
Etobicoke Civic Centre, Council Chamber (399 The West Mall)
January 12, 3 and 6pm
Scarborough Civic Centre, Council Chamber (150 Borough Dr.)
January 13, 3 and 6pm
North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St.)
January 13, 3 and 6pm
East York Civic Centre (850 Coxwell Ave.)
January 14, 3 and 6pm
York Civic Centre (2700 Eglinton Ave. W)
January 14, 3 and 6pm
As I said, it is critical this year that we come together to demonstrate our support for building our City. Speaking to Budget Committee is a crucial way to do that. To register to speak, call 416-392-4666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can only make one presentation at any of the sessions.
Can't attend in person? Send a written submission to the Budget Committee by email to email@example.com, fax 416-392-1879, or mail to Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street W, 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto ON, M5H 2N2
To find out more, visit toronto.ca/council.
You can also follow the budget process at toronto.ca/budget2016.