Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)


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Custodians:

Information Request Correspondence

October 4, 2005

Ms.Ulli Watkiss,
City Clerk,
City of Toronto, City Hall,
100 Queen Street West,
Toronto M5H 2N2

Re: missing information in public records

Dear Ms. Watkiss,

Our research group is looking into the uses and stewardship of public space in the City of Toronto. In the course of our research, we have relied quite a bit on staff reports and other public documents on the City of Toronto website. However, there are many cases in which reports are missing from the website; also, many reports that are referred to in Council and Committee minutes cannot be turned up by using the website’s search engine. As a result of this, we have had to make a number of requests for reports from your staff over the past few months. Although we have received information from your staff a few times, the majority of requests have gone unanswered. Since all the information that we have requested is supposed to be public, we’re hoping that you can instruct your staff to assist us in tracking it down.

Here is some of the information that we have requested (sometimes twice), but have received no reply from your office:

  • A letter from David Gunn (special advisor to the CAO and

Commissioners) to Shirley Hoy, dated October 4, 2001. It was an attachment to a report by Shirley Hoy, dated January 16, 2002, which appeared in front of the Policy and Finance Committee on January 31, 2002.

  • A copy of the final 2002 budget; the link on the City of Toronto website leads to a news release saying that the 2002 budget has been finalized. Can you send us a more comprehensive profile of the 2002 budget, like the one that is available for subsequent years? Also, the 1998 and 1999 budget profiles that are available on-line are quite incomplete, and contain no breakdown of the spending of various departments and divisions; this is problematic, because we am looking for information on capital budgets for Parks and Recreation, but the 1999 budget profile only gives the total capital budget for this division (i.e. no breakdown of costs). The 1998 budget profile does not even separate the division's capital and operating costs. Are budget profiles available for these years that give more detail?
  • It is our understanding that the Chief Financial Officer is required to report to the audit committee on a yearly basis in regards to the City's expenditures for consulting services; however, no such report is available on-line prior to 2001. Are there any more of these reports, and if so can we get them?

As well, there are a number of reports which are referred to in the "1999-2003 Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program" which we have been unable to locate. Wherever possible we have included the name and date of the report, but in many cases we have only been able to include the quote in which the report was referred to; in either case, we have bolded the relevant information. These are as follows:

  • “DEVELOPMENT CHARGES BACKGROUND STUDY - CAPITAL PROGRAM REVIEW,” by the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer; appeared on agenda at Budget Committee Meeting of June 1, 1999; had a note that said report to follow. When link is followed, a page opens which contains the quote: “This item was not available on disc when the agenda was prepared. A hard copy has been forwarded to your Clerk's office for your review.”
  • Quote from the 1999-2003 Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program: “(3)principal and interest payments on debt issued for capital purposes. The Capital from Current assumed in Appendix B is $143.4 million. This represents an increase of $29.5 million over the 1998 level of $113.9 million, with $25 million of the increase relating to the financing strategy dealing with the TTC downloading pressures and $4.5 million pertaining to a shift in expenditures from operating to capital in Transportation's 1999 Capital Program. The principal and interest payments on debt issued for capital purposes will depend on the Capital Management Financing Strategy adopted. The financing options are contained in a separate report from the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.”
  • Quote from 1999-2003 Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program: “The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee reports, for the information of Council, having: (2)requested the Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, to report, in an expeditious manner, to the Budget Committee, on the outstanding Urban Design Project Items 1-9 (Page 170 of the Capital Budget Book); such report to also include information respecting Garrison Creek Linkages.”
  • Quote from 1999-2003 Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program: “(8)That the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism and the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer report in time for the year 2000 Capital Budget process, on a long-term integrated prioritized Parks and Recreation capital works program, in consultation with Facilities Management, as work on their Capital Asset Management Plan addresses Parks and Recreation-related capital works.”
  • Report entitled "Parkland Dedication and Cash-in-lieu of Parkland Funds" dated March 30, 1998.
  • -Quote from 1999-2003 Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program: “(11)With regards to the "state of good repair" of Parks and Recreation facilities (including a study of facility components such as roofs, walls, foundations, HVAC, glazing, electrical, and exterior amenities such as parking lots/lighting, prioritized as to repair and standardization), the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, in consultation with the Commissioner of Corporate Services, report to the Budget Committee on the scope and scale of the study of such facilities, the estimated costs of such a study, and the implications of the Development Charges Act as a source of funding for projects/initiatives emanating from the study.”
  • Quote from the 1999-2003 Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program: “(14)The Commissioner of Corporate Services request funding from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund for the Energy Retrofit Project totalling $275 thousand in 1999 and report back to Budget Committee on this matter.”

Any assistance that you and your staff can give us in locating the information referred to in this letter would be greatly appreciated. If for any reason some of this information is not available, could you please instruct your staff to help us understand why not?

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jutta Mason

Luke Cayley

Belinda Cole


ATI response: Debt related to Parks and Recreation capital projects 2000-2004

C.A.P access request 05-1902

2000: Total approved capital projects; $50,513,000. Funded from debt: $42,395,000. Funded from “Other”:$8,118,000. Actual spent: $42,617,000.
2001: Total approved capital projects: $31,421,000. Funded from debt: 23,747,000. Funded from “Other”: $7,674,000. Actual spent: $39,749,000.
2002: Total approved capital projects: $29,205,000. Funded from debt: $10,712,000. Funded from “Other”: $18,493,000. Actual spent: $31,853,000.
2003: Total approved capital projects: $40,781,000. Funded from debt: $21,205,000. Funded from “Other”: $19,576,000 Actual spent: $44,659,000.
2004: Total approved capital projects: $64,931,000. Funded from debt: $17,330,000. Funded from “Other”: $47,601,000. Actual spent: $47,160,000.

Total approved capital budget 2000-2004: $217,148,000.
Total debt: $115,389,000.
Actual spending: $206,038,000. Amount of debt charges 2000-2004: $33,507,401

“The debt charges, while attributable to Parks and Recreation, are paid out of the corporate account ‘Non Program,’ and are not part of the department’s operating budget.”

Debt charges for Parks and Recreation capital projects:

  • 2000: $1,803,759; interest rate: 6.25%
  • 2001: $4,560,905; interest rate: 6.4%
  • 2002: $5,819,184; interest rate: 5.05%
  • 2003: $10,149,499; interest rate 5.12%
  • 2004: $11,174,054; interest rate 4.95 %

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