Toronto’s balanced budget, future plans may be flawed

Cuts city management positions by 10 per cent over three years

Potato balancing out coins on calculator

Toronto budget chief Gary Crawford’s newly balanced budget has its share of critics.

One of those is Ward 14 councillor Gord Perks who calls the budget “deeply unfair.”

It will “worsen the financial health of the city of Toronto,” he said.

The proposed spending package, approved by the city’s budget committee Tuesday, originally had a $91-million gap.

This gap was filled with hikes to various taxes, like the land transfer tax, as well as the introduction of new ones, like a five per cent hotel tax.

The budget also borrowed from reserves and spending cuts in other departments.

Perks criticized the decision to take from reserves that he believes should be saved for “rainy days.”

He added that various city services, like affordable housing and public transit, are already getting worse and would be more affected by the cuts.

Cutting out the middle man

The committee also decided that it would come up with a three-year plan to reduce city management jobs by 10 per cent, starting in 2018.

Crawford had previously said he considers the city’s middle management to be potentially “bloated,” as reported by CBC News.

Perks disagreed with those statements, citing a 2014 report praising the efficiency of Toronto’s management.

“There’s a range that [the report’s] consultants found in municipal governments of having one manager to every five employees, to one manager for every eight employees,” Perks said. “They found that the city of Toronto was at one manager to every 8.8 employees. So, in other words, we have less management than the range of comparable municipalities.”

“It’s disappointing to me the budget chief would willfully misrepresent the facts to the public,” he said.

Crawford could not be reached for comment.

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Posted: Feb 12 2017 3:48 pm
Filed under: Business News