Bradford’s Budget Town Hall reveals mixed feelings on the Toronto city budget

Coun. Shelly Carroll and Coun. Brad Bradford listening to concerned citizines on the potential 9.5 per cent property tax increase (James Bullanoff/Toronto Observer) 

Coun. Brad Bradford’s Budget Town Hall meeting showcased mixed feelings for the Beaches East-York community regarding the 2024 Toronto city budget. 

The event invited members of the community to not only share concerns but ask questions regarding the many changes Torontonians are expected to face, including a 9.5 per cent property tax increase. 

Community members shared emotions about the changes and asked their councillor questions about how the budget will impact them.

Clark Seadon, a retired banker and former non-profit finance director, felt that the tax increase would hurt the community.

“The city has not met its residents’ needs with a 9.5 per cent increase,” he said. “Because that’s, in my view … not affordable.” 

The meeting took place on Feb. 8  from 6 to 8 p.m. at the East York Civic Centre. It started with a breakdown of the budget from Stephen Conforti, chief financial officer and treasurer of the City of Toronto, and how the city plans to tackle the $1.8 billion opening budget pressure.

Bradford noted the stark contrast between those who support the budget and those who oppose it. “You heard folks, you know, echoing the sentiment that 9.5 percent is a historic tax increase that’s not affordable. And then you heard some people saying, ‘Raise my taxes more.’”

The councillor emphasized the importance of hearing from his community and the diversity in the area.

“I think it was a bit of a mixed bag. That is often the case here in Beaches East-York,” Bradford said. “We have a very diverse constituency. And there’s a lot of diversity in those views.”

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Budget chief Shelley Caroll, councillor for Don Valley North, also came to the meeting and emphasized her commitment to hearing from communities about the budget.

“It’s a huge ask of the community. And so we said, ‘Let us be there to help explain it, and to hear what people are saying about it.’” 

Caroll also emphasized that budgets are yearly and you won’t be able to solve everything in one year, but small changes help relieve the overall pressure.

“We know this is a hard year property tax increase-wise… in doing the high increase was to really take down that opening pressure and … get back to the city that we loved.” 

The budget will go through a final debate on Feb. 14, when city council will decide whether the city will implement the tax increase.

Bradford took to X (formally Twitter) to thank the community and special guests for their time during the event, noting his plans to take their feedback to city council. 

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Posted: Feb 12 2024 10:38 pm
Filed under: News

About the Author

James Bullanoff
James Bullanoff is a third-year journalism specialist at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). He is the UTSC Bureau Chief at the Varsity, U of T's tri-campus newspaper.