It was a whirlwind at council but the 2012 budget finally passed! I am proud to say that we’re on our way to fiscal responsibility while saving the programs and services that matter most to Torontonians. The vote was very close, 23-21, but in the end, we put back 0.2 per cent of the operating budget and ensured that you got the city you’ve been asking for in thousands of emails, phone calls, letters and meetings.
This is a budget that is the result of you raising your voice when it mattered most. Ward 32 residents were unstoppable – cranking out the creative ideas, passion and support around the clock. We even had one resident, a strong swimming advocate, sit through hours of Executive Committee in a wet suit!
The motion that carried the day, moved by Councillor Josh Colle, took weeks for us to put together. My colleagues in the ‘mighty middle’ were running from meeting to meeting, madly crunching numbers, drafting motions, asking questions of city staff. It was organized chaos, with staff working long hours and constituents providing a steady stream of ideas and inspiration. In the end, a coalition that spanned the political spectrum agreed to protect childcare, transit, pools and ice rinks, environmental programs and shelters.
· $5 million to the TTC to help prevent service cuts
· $3.9 million to prevent proposed cuts to libraries
· $2.8 million to restore funding to the Community Partnerships Investment Program which support seniors, newcomers and youth
· $1.97 million to restore funding for three shelters
· $1.68 million for the school-based childcare rent subsidy
· $1.3 million to restore youth programs at Priority Centres
· $680,000 for pools
· $670,000 to restore child care centre programming
· $323,000 for climate change and sustainability programs
· $325,000 for Live Green animators
· $260,000 for ice rink programming
This team effort of working across political stripes will hopefully carry over into other City Council affairs. Municipal politics seem to work best when we focus tightly on figuring out what is best for the city, suggesting constructive alternatives, thinking of revenue generation as well as prudent approaches to operations. We have some major challenges ahead to keep our great city running, but at least for today, we have show that we can work together and build a better city.
Go Ward 32 Go! - Mary-Margaret