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Capital Budget Media 2008 Summary

posted on December 08, 2008

Coughing up from the coffers

Published: December 8, 2008
Source: The Globe and Mail

"The city got the dough, so where did it go?

It's a question bugging a few councillors and business leaders, who wonder where the city has stashed $238-million in provincial infrastructure dollars put on the table last August as part of a $1.1-billion package for all Ontario municipalities.

Watch for Mayor David Miller to be pressed for answers when council meets on Wednesday to adopt the $1.6-billion capital budget for 2009. Last week, Toronto Board of Trade president Carol Wilding called on the city to enact special stimulus measures, using the $238-million dollop from the province, to ease the downturn.

"These [provincial] dollars don't appear to have been utilized in the recent [city] capital budget," she said. "

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/subscribe.jsp?art=68717

posted on November 05, 2008

Mayor says now is the time to spend

City's plan to lay out $1.6B next year would push the debt load to $2.7B

By: BRYN WEESE
Published: 31st October 2008
Source: Toronto Sun

The city's plan to spend $1.626 billion in 2009 could not have come at a worse time, some critics charge.

The city proposed its 2009 and 2009-2013 capital plan yesterday which, if approved, would add $367 million to the city's debt.

It would bring the city's total debt load to $2.7 billion.

"The first rule of holes says that when you're in a hole, stop digging.

Instead, what the mayor has done is he's brought a shovel and he's digging the hole deeper by increasing debt, increasing spending and he's dragging taxpayers down with him," said Kevin Gaudet, the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Toronto should use provincial money to fund infrastructure

Published: Oct. 31, 2008
Source: News Wire

TORONTO, /CNW/ - This morning, at a Canadian Urban Institute session, Dr. Enid Slack, with the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, said infrastructure, from water pipes to transit, should be the first place The City of Toronto invests new money from the McGuinty government. "The area (infrastructure) is screaming out for investment."

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Road repairs in the slow lane

City budgets $173M to repair 420 km of roads and 80 bridges next year, but critics say it's not enough

By: BRYN WEESE
Published: 31st October 2008
Source: Toronto Sun

The city's teeth-chattering roads will get worse before they get better, despite the fact that the city is poised to spend $1.626 billion in 2009 on capital projects.

In fact, Toronto won't begin to make headway on its road repair backlog for another eight years.

The proposed 2009 capital budget was released yesterday, as was a spending plan for the next four years and -- for the first time ever -- a 10-year spending forecast, which will have to survive three municipal elections.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Miller on track to double T.O.'s debt

By: SUE-ANN LEVY
Published: 31st October 2008
Source: TORONTO SUN

After budget chief Shelley Carroll and Mayor David Miller had shamelessly sung the praises of their "prudent" 2009 capital budget yesterday, I asked if one or the other could illuminate us as to the city's current total debt.

After all, given that the city was planning to finance 23% of the $1.6-billion capital budget with $367-million more in new debt, I wondered what that meant for the city's steadily ballooning long-term debt figure -- and how much of the operating budget would go to service that debt.

Our strong mayor deferred to Carroll to answer. The Mistress of Doubletalk tried to steer me in quite another direction.

"This is new debt ... this is a budget that's funded on a combination of things ..." she said, before I asked her again, and a third time, for the projected 2009 total debt figure.

"They're in the presentation ... I can leaf through this (presentation) or you can find them ... I know they're in the presentation," she said.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

City rolls out $1.6B capital budget plan

By: Paul Moloney
Published: October 31, 2008
Source: The Star

Now is not the time to cut infrastructure spending, Mayor David Miller said yesterday at the rollout of Toronto's $1.6 billion capital budget.

"It's very clear at a time of economic uncertainty such as this, governments should be investing, particularly in the infrastructure that helps build a strong economy."

Miller welcomed the appointment of John Baird as federal infrastructure minister, saying he hoped the appointment "is a signal from the federal government that they share that view, that it is time to invest in Canada's aging infrastructure."

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Toronto proposals put transit ahead of repair backlog

City will continue to decline, critics say

By: JENNIFER LEWINGTON
Published: October 31, 2008
Source: The Globe and Mail

"Funding for new buses, bike lanes and community centres top the list of projects for the city's $1.6-billion capital budget released yesterday, but a backlog of repairs to roads and parks will grow for several more years.

"In an uncertain economy, we must be prudent but we also have to plan and invest for the future," said Toronto Mayor David Miller, as he laid out proposals that head to the budget committee for debate next week."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/subscribe.jsp?art=719845

posted on November 05, 2008

City left holding bag on grand plaza plan

Search abandoned for partner to help pay Nathan Phillips cost

By: John Spears
Published: October 31, 2008
Source: The Star

The City of Toronto has quietly put aside plans to raise money from private donors to redesign Nathan Phillips Square.

The renovation of Toronto's signature plaza will go ahead, city officials say but how quickly and at whose expense is less certain.

When the city approved the square's redesign 19 months ago after a high-profile international competition, councillors were told $25 million of the $42.7 million cost would come from private donations.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

CITY HALL: New projects, more debt proposed in city capital budget

By: DAVID NICKLE
Published: October 30, 2008
Source: Inside Toronto

Public transit, bike lanes, roads and community centres will all get a boost in 2009 - and so will the city's debt - in Toronto's capital budget introduced by city officials Thursday afternoon.

Toronto's capital budget this year will total $1.626 billion of the city's $8-billion-plus total annual budget.

The capital budget covers new buildings, roads and equipment - so-called hard infrastructure.

While the city can't borrow to cover its operating costs, it can to cover capital and this year it will be increasing its debt load by $367 million.

But Mayor David Miller and budget chief Shelley Carroll said the debt load was reasonable - well under city targets, such that by 2013, staff are projecting the city won't take on any new debt.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Hall Monitor: City unveils 2009 capital budget

By: Allison Hanes
Published: October 30, 2008
Source: NATIONAL POST

Mayor David Miller on Thursday unveiled Toronto's $1.6-billion proposed capital budget, which calls for major investments in public transit, road repairs, libraries and community centres.

Uncertain economic times call for government to step up and spend on projects that create jobs and bolster the economy, he said.

"When I studied economics, I studied Keynesian economics, and its very clear that at a time of uncertainty like this, governments should be investing, particularly in infrastructure that helps build a strong economy," said Mr. Miller "Public libraries are just as important to the economy as public transit. Were investing."

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2008/10/30/hall-monitor-city-unveils-2009-capital-budget.aspx

posted on November 05, 2008

City's library board seeks 7.1 per cent budget hike

By: John Spears
Published: October 22, 2008
Source: The Star

Weeks after Mayor David Miller directed all city departments and agencies to flatline their budgets for 2009, the Toronto Library Board is asking for a 7.1 per cent budget increase.

The board wants to spend an extra $11 million to bump its budget to $166.8 million.

Members say the money is needed in part to extend the same level of service to all areas of the city.

The hike is far beyond the zero-increase target Miller set. In fact, departments and agencies were asked to try to cut 2009 spending by 2 per cent to ease inflationary pressures. On the other hand, Miller is a big booster of the library system; he often cites it in speeches as the world's best and busiest.

Councillor Janet Davis Miller's designated representative on the library board backs the proposal.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Brace for 2-4% tax hike, Mayor says

By: John Spears
Published: October 07, 2008
Source: The Star

Toronto property taxes are likely to increase by between 2 and 4 per cent next year, Mayor David Miller says.

"Yes, there could be a tax increase," but it should remain in line with inflation, the Mayor said today.

"I've asked, if (city staff) recommend one, that it be in line with inflation, which so far this year has been 3.6 (per cent) I think so in the range of 2 to 4 per cent."

The city's 2009 budget is in its early stages of preparation. Miller said that the federal and provincial governments' tax revenues tend to rise automatically with inflation so they don't have to boost their tax rates, but the city has to increase its tax rates just to keep even with inflation.

Read more >>

posted on November 05, 2008

Repair roads, rinks, not city square: councillor

By: Allison Hanes
Published: October 31, 2008
Source: National Post

"In tough economic times, some city councillors question whether Toronto really needs to spend $40-million over the next five years for a makeover of Nathan Phillips Square, another $70-million for bike lanes and $10-million to study tearing down part of the Gardiner Expressway.

Mayor David Miller yesterday unveiled the city's $1.6-billion capital budget for 2009, which will put the city debt at $2.9-billion, double what it was when Mr. Miller took office.

Councillor Denzil Min-nan-Wong (Don Valley West) argued the city is not investing enough on such essentials as a $310-million road-repair deficit and a $230-million-and-growing recreation centre backlog, which would improve basic services for Torontonians."

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=921374


Content last modified on December 08, 2008, at 11:49 PM EST