There are ways of funding badly needed projects that are already at hand and don't involve squeezing the long-suffering taxpayer harder. Although it would take some political will, Toronto could realize millions in savings that would go a long way in addressing its budget shortfall.
Toronto's 2011 year-end surplus is a whopping $292-million -- $138-million more than city staff forecast when council signed
As a former mayor and budget chief, I understand the difficulty that goes into crafting a budget and tough decisions that must be made about certain programs. However, I hope Toronto Council will reassess some of the proposed cuts in this budget, especially those that affect the most vulnerable among us.
The fact that Toronto's mayor is fat is relevant to the debate about his competency to do his duties. Not only does his risk for heart disease and stroke call into question his ability to remain physically healthy for an entire term, I think it also speaks to a level of personal irresponsibility and short-sightedness.
The discussion around cutting library services comes from a place devoid of thought or emotion. It comes from a place where numbers on a balance sheet are expected to tell the entire story, when in fact they merely tell us how much things cost.
September is just around the corner, and while Rob's main job will be to try to deliver Toronto to the Conservative party, maybe we can still take it back.
Cities like ours are surging with an enormous reservoir of creativity. We're soaking in it. If Toronto's mayor had the vision to seek innovation, our waterfront, parks and libraries might stand a chance. Toronto could take its place as a leader in sustainable revenue generation and urban planning.
Making programs and services more efficient and effective is welcome, and that should help in reducing costs and better serving public needs, but it would be naïve to assume that efficiency alone could solve the deficit. Therefore cuts, and maybe tax or user fee increases, will have to be made.
Recently the mayor of Toronto pulled an 'all-nighter' to hear from approximately 300 of the roughly three million people who live in Toronto. But the process for 'meaningful consultation' was fatally flawed.
Rob Ford danced into office promising to "stop the gravy train" at city hall. Problem is, he and his strategy are still dancing but there is no gravy. Now that we have seen each other in that committee room, and from behind a microphone, we must connect, strategize and resist.