City council passes 2015 budget

Carries 42-2. Budget chief Crawford shares a few words about benefits

Denice Raagas // Toronto Observer
The second day of budget debate when it started at City Hall.

The two days of city budget deliberations have officially ended and the 2015 budget is passed. The operating capital budget was passed on a 42-2 vote on March 11. The majority of the meeting covered debates regarding transit. The debate also touched upon poverty reduction, safety infrastructure and garbage collection. After the budget was passed, Mayor John Tory congratulated budget chief Councillor Gary Crawford on his success.

“It is an absolute win,” Crawford said. “We have kept property taxes low and that was one of the goals that we wanted to do from the very beginning.”

There was near-unanimous support from council for the city’s budget. Crawford said that it is an affordable budget that keeps taxes below the rate of inflation.

“We have a very balanced approach to the budget,” Crawford said.

There are, however, bigger increases in things like TTC fares, water and sewer rates, and garbage collection rates. In response to a reporter’s question, Crawford acknowledged that it may still be hard for some people, like students, to afford basic city living.

“You got me on that one,” he said. “I know it’s a struggle for students to have to pay but we have made incredible achievements this year.” He said that council will be looking into prioritizing seniors and students next year.

“What you will see is this desire to want to assist other people in the city,” Crawford said.