Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appears to have the votes to pass the 2013 city budget, though he'll have to wait until at least Wednesday after councillors decided to suspend their discussions for the night.
The day began with council debating and finally agreeing upon a property tax increase of 2 per cent, which had been previously proposed.
Several councillors brought forward alternate proposals, including Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti who floated a zero-per-cent increase, which was defeated by a vote of 40-4 — though Ford, in a surprise move, was one of the council members who supported it.
"The mayor voted against his own budget … against his own tax rate," said Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong.
"It seems to me that some of us are more supportive of his budget than he is. I don't think any mayor in the history of the City of Toronto has proposed a budget and then voted against his own tax rate increase."
Coun. Doug Ford was critical of Minnan-Wong, calling his comments "politicking."
The mayor defended his decision by saying: "If anyone can show me savings, I'm going to support it."
When the motion from Mammoliti was rejected, Ford then voted in favour of his original two per cent property tax increase proposal.
Firefighters protest cuts
The mayor also had to deal with firefighters who filled the chamber on Tuesday, protesting plans to close one fire station and take five trucks off the road.
Ford pushed back.
"We are not responding to fear-mongering when it comes to emergency services budgets. We will make the decisions based on evidence," said Ford.
The mayor put $7 million in spending back into the proposed budget last week, including money for firefighters and paramedics.
But while the mayor has convinced most on council to support the budget, not everyone is sold.
Coun. Gord Perks said the list of services that will suffer as a result of the proposed budget "is as long as my arm."
At about 8 p.m. councillors voted to end their deliberations and to return to the council chamber on Wednesday to finish the budget debate.
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