Toronto

Toronto city council approves property tax freeze

Toronto city council has approved a property tax freeze in the 2011 operating budget.

Torontonians can look forward to a year without a property tax increase but some city councillors say residents should enjoy it while they can —  the situation is going to change significantly in the years to come.

Mayor Rob Ford opened the final stage of the 2011 budget process with a speech in which he declared he had achieved what he set out to do.

"I said I'd try to get a zero per cent tax increase - and that's exactly what I did," said Ford after city council approved the 2011 tax freeze.

But some councillors say that with a $774 million deficit facing the city in 2012, Ford is only putting off the inevitable.

"We're not always going to have reserves to draw on" said Coun. Gord Perks.  "The money that we put aside last year — and that we generated in 2010 — that's all gone now, which means that next year's budget is going to be just awful." 

Perks went on the accuse Ford of "profoundly misleading Torontonians if he thinks that he can generate $700 million in savings without having a profound impact on the services the city delivers." 

City council will debate the proposed $9.4 billion operating budget until next Monday, allowing councillors to make pitches for saving programs slated to be chopped.