Toronto

Some councillors lash out during budget hearings

Tempers flared as the city's budget committee continued hearing from residents on Thursday about the proposed operating budget for 2012.

Tempers flared as the city's budget committee continued hearing from residents on Thursday about the proposed operating budget for 2012.

Mayor Rob Ford tabled a proposed budget late last month that includes a 2.5 per cent property tax increase - along with increases in TTC fares, cuts to childcare space and the closure of some homeless shelters.

For the most part committee members have been hearing from people opposed to the budget, though there have been some supporters. 

On Thursday the atmosphere inside the second floor hearing room grew tense when some of the councillors began pushing back.

When one speaker suggested that most Torontonians don't support the cuts, Coun. Doug Ford — the mayor's brother — shot back, "Do you realize in Etobicoke people are saying 'Stay the course, keep going.'  Do you realize in the suburbs that's what they're telling us?"

Another deputant said people would be willing pay higher taxes to avoid the cuts to services.

Coun. Frances Nunziata said she doubted that.

She said she'd ask the city manager "if we can have forms out in the lobby for people that want their taxes increased - that only their taxes will be increased.  People that don't, won't.  Will you agree to that?"

Coun. Mike Layton said that it was a poor display from some members of the committee.

"[The deputants] want to make sure that council is listening and what they got [was] they were attacked  by several councillors," said Layton.

Submissions to the committee are scheduled to continue until Thursday evening.

 

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