Toronto council facing difficult budget, considering new revenue tools

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Toronto city council is reviewing revenue generating options including an in-depth study of a commercial parking levy and its impact on climate goals. City Council also requested that the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) Board direct TPA staff to complete a review of rates for on-street and off-street parking.

“It’s high time for a new fiscal deal for cities,” said Mayor John Tory. “While we are doing our best to protect services and invest in crucial priorities like housing, transit and safety, we would be able to do more with a new fiscal framework.

“The upcoming report on those revenue tools will be crucial to informing our discussions with other orders of government about our funding challenges, by providing us with the latest available information”.

Council will consider all revenue tools “in the context of their feasibility, how they align with council-directed objectives, and how the tools do or do not address the substantial budgetary pressures.”

The city is also looking for “more reliable revenue streams” from upper levels of government.

As the budget debate continues, councillors say there are significant, ongoing financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs of operations and capital work. Priorities include housing, transit, and economic recovery.

“The 2023 budget is more challenging than any of the previous budgets I have been involved with,” said Councillor Gary Crawford, budget committee chair. “The prospect of new revenue generating tools for the City is promising, but I just want to be clear that new revenue tools allowed us under the City of Toronto Act will not be enough alone to resolve the pressing challenges of this City.”

More information about Toronto’s Budget is available on the City’s 2023 Budget webpage.

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