Budget committee backs 2.25% tax hike
Increase would cost about $55 more for average homeowner
Toronto’s budget committee has voted in favour of a 2.25 per cent increase to property taxes, rejecting the number proposed by Mayor Rob Ford.
Today was the final day for the committee to approve the city’s capital and operating budgets, which also happened to be a sort of showdown between Ford and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
Kelly had backed the proposal to hold the residential property tax increase at 2.25 per cent.
Ford, meanwhile, wanted taxes to go up by 1.75 per cent.
Both figures included the 0.5 per cent increase needed to help pay for the Scarborough subway.
The committee voted Wednesday afternoon 4-2 in favour of Kelly’s number.
“This is my desire, to create a budget that is well-rounded, balanced, that is a win-win budget fiscally and socially,” Kelly said.
When reporters asked Ford on Wednesday if he would like the deputy mayor to back his 1.75 per cent push, the city’s chief magistrate was clear.
"Absolutely, I hope council will back me. The taxpayers are going to back me, hopefully the councillors will back me," Ford said, warning that councillors will have to face voters on the issue this fall if they decide otherwise.
Budget committee member Coun. Michelle Berardinetti told CBC News on Wednesday that holding the increase at 1.75 per cent is not possible.
"We are presenting a responsible budget," she said.
A property tax increase of 2.25 per cent would cost about $55 a year for the average homeowner.
Earlier on Wednesday, the budget committee voted to defer a $2.375 million request from the Office of the Lobbyist Registrar to upgrade to a new lobbyist registry system. Coun. James Pasternak balked at the cost, saying the system would likely be out of date by the time it comes online in 2023.
Pasternak also said the city is hoping the province will help cover cleanup costs related to last month's ice storm, which is expected come with a $75-million price tag.
The budget goes to the city's executive committee in two weeks and then on to council for final approval at the end of the month.