City of Toronto staff report paints dismal financial picture

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City of Toronto staff report paints dismal financial picture

Ontario Construction News staff writer

A recent report from the City of Toronto executive committee highlights a $29.5 billion need for capital projects along with a $1.5 billion hole in the 2024 operating budget. This adds up to a huge $46.5 billion shortfall over the next decade.

“Toronto’s financial situation is serious, and we need to take action to ensure the city’s stability,” said Mayor Olivia Chow. “We must find a way to protect essential services and work together on housing, transit, climate action, and other shared goals.”

Without funding from the federal and provincial governments, the city could be forced to cut projects and services, the report warns.

Also, the executive committee will discuss a range of strategies recommended by city staff to “make money, reduce spending, manage assets better, and improve how budgets are planned and monitored”.

“We’re at a critical point where cooperation is key,” said Councillor Shelley Carroll, budget committee. “Toronto’s success relies on all levels of government working together.”

Some of the ideas being considered include different tax rates for expensive properties starting in 2024, as well as new ways to bring in money, such as a tax for buyers from other countries, a fee for parking at commercial properties, and a review of properties that aren’t being used efficiently.

The executive committee is considering:

  • Directing staff to develop a predictable multi-year approach for recommending property tax rates.
  • Directing staff to analyze the feasibility of increasing the Vacant Home Tax rate from one to three per cent.
  • Directing staff to provide options to restructure or dissolve the Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovation and Technology financial incentive program.
  • Directing staff to take the necessary steps to remove the existing non-residential non-ground floor development charges exemption.
  • Directing staff to report back on the feasibility of requiring existing buildings to annually submit building-level performance data and to meet specific greenhouse gas emissions performance standards.

The Executive Committee will hear from Toronto residents in person as well as by video conference during its meeting on Thursday, August 24. Speakers can register by email (exc@toronto.ca) or call 416-392-7033 by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23.

For more information about the financial situation and updates, click this link.

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