NEWS

Proposed property tax hike edges up to 3.21%

01/22/2014 01:31 EST | Updated 03/24/2014 05:59 EDT
As Toronto city council roils with the latest Rob Ford controversy, city staff are quietly recommending a higher property tax increase than the one approved by the budget committee last week as a way to cover increased costs from December's ice storm.

At Wednesday's executive committee meeting, staff recommended a 3.21 per cent tax increase.

An increase of 3.21 per cent is higher than the 2.25 per cent increase approved by the budget committee earlier this month. That number already includes .5 per cent boost for the Scarborough subway extension.

As Ford left the committee meeting, he spoke against the increase, accusing other council members of not respecting taxpayers. Ford has said he favours a 1.75 per cent increase, a number some budget committee members say is impossible to achieve without drastic service cuts.

The ice storm left Toronto facing a cleanup bill estimated at $106 million. The city has requested money from the province's disaster relief fund to help cover a portion of the cost. On Friday Ford and other GTA mayors met with the province to talk about storm relief, but left with no firm commitment for funds.

Also, Ford learned the request for provincial money could take months to process, leaving the city facing a significant hole in this year's budget.

The executive committee still has to vote on the tax increase before it moves to council for final approval at the end of the month.

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