Budget 2018- We Need Your Help
Dear friend --
Over the last week, you may have seen stories about our city's growing homelessness crisis. This is a year-round challenge – and over the last 3 years, we've worked hard together to welcome the services and supports for those experiencing homelessness to Ward 20. However, the extreme cold exacerbates the situation even further. I am continuing to work round-the-clock on every possible opportunity on an emergency basis, but also to ensure that we are planning long-term for a shelter system that has the spaces and capacity we need.
As we continue to work hard on this critically important issue, conversations are also underway at City Hall about the future of our city through the release of the proposed 2018 Budget.
For the last two decades our city's population has steadily grown. Meanwhile, our revenue has steadily declined. Simply put, as our city has grown, our budget to support Toronto residents has not.
Currently, we do not have the revenue to support the city and services we have – our transit system, our parks and community spaces, and our affordable housing units.
We are also not able to build the city we need – a city where residents have access to safe and affordable housing, quality child care that is affordable, transit that is accessible, and parks and community spaces that build liveable communities.
At its core, the annual Budget debate 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, we need your help to ask critical questions – are we building a fair and supportive city?
Is this budget truly making things better?
For the last number of years, our city's budgets have continued to fail to collect the revenue we need to build the services and infrastructure to support our city and each other.
Again this year, the 2018 budget doesn't recommend the investments needed to truly make our city better. At the same time, the proposed budget does not increase spending on programs based on population growth – and we know all too well in Ward 20 that our population is growing rapidly, along with the need for services in our communities. What does this mean? Our population is growing, but we're not spending more on the services we all rely on – so, we're actually spending less.
Our waiting list for affordable housing has grown to 181,000 people – a number that has steadily grown over the past year. This budget does not include the resources to house more of our friends and neighbours. It does not make the affordable housing crisis in our city better.
Our public transit system is facing the growing pressure of an increasing population, and those who want to ride the TTC. But, this budget will not address that crowded subway train, the long-wait in the winter for the bus, or other needed improvements. We're spending less, and not making things better.
These are just a couple of the ways that the 2018 operating budget is, in fact, not addressing critical needs in our city. We need your help to make it clear that we need a budget – a vision – that invests in the services, infrastructure, and supports that can continue to make our city a supportive and vibrant place to call home.
There are many ways to get involved to share your views and vision for our city through this budget. Take a look at the information below to find out how you can get involved. The budget process can be inaccessible and complex, but getting involved with the City's budget is crucial. You can also click here to review the proposed department-by-department 2018 budget.
Toronto is a great city, there's no question about that. But, in order to build a city for the future, we need to invest – in people, services, and infrastructure – to truly make things better. In this budget cycle, help us make it clear that we want to 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.
Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina
Get Involved in the 2018 Budget
1 – Come to my Ward 20 Budget Town Hall on Monday January 29th, 6:30pm, at Scadding Court Community Centre. Again 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, how we can make our city better for all our friends and neighbours, and share your thoughts with me before Council votes on the Budget in February.
Councillors Joe Cressy & Mike Layton's City Budget Town Hall
Monday January 29th, 6:30pm
Scadding Court Community Centre
707 Dundas St. W. (Bathurst and Dundas)
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 – The City Hall sessions for deputations to the Budget Committee will take place on January 10th:
City Hall, Committee Room 1 (100 Queen Street West)
January 10, 9:30am 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.
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. You can also contact the Mayor's office to let Mayor Tory know what is critical for you and our communities in this budget, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more, visit toronto.ca/council.
You can also follow the budget process on the city's website here.