See also Site Map
In the past four years, Parks and Recreation spent around $200 million repairing its facilities and building more. Where does all that money come from? Partly from levies on new development. But the city's reports on amounts of park levies are hugely contradictory. Why? The City's freedom of information staff told us to ask the general manager's staff, so we did.
To: Intiaz Ruffudeen, Information and Privacy liaison staff in the Office of the General Manager, Parks, Forestry and Recreation
Access Request 04-2616 reported:
"The City’s current policy for distribution of cash-in-lieu payments is as follows:
25% goes to local parkland acquisition
25% goes to local park development
25% goes to citywide parkland acquisition
25% goes to citywide development"
In Access Request 05-0531, certain parks move back and forth between being considered “local” and “citywide” projects. For example,
Why the inconsistencies?
In Access Request 05-0531, the project list, spread out over a period of five years from 2000 to 2004, showed $22.1 million for park development and only $8.4 million for parkland acquisition.
In Access Request 05-1904, the total spent for all projects was about the same but the allocation to the categories was not. According to this response, the city had spent $12.6 million on park development from 2000 to 2004, and $18.2 million on parkland acquisition.
In Access Request 05-1903, I asked for a breakdown of the parkland acquisition for 2001, as a sample year. The record showed a total of $2.7 million spent for new parkland in 2001. But compare: Access Request 05-0531 showed $4.8 million for new parkland for that year. And compare again: Access Request 05-1904 showed $5.5 million spent for new parkland in 2001.
Why are all the numbers different? Which are the right ones?
In Access Request 04-3224, I asked how much went into the local and city wide park development reserve funds from 1998 to 2004. The numbers for 1998 were unavailable. The numbers for 1999 were incomplete, as were the numbers for 2004.
Please tell me the final numbers for 2004 and also the amounts of park levies that went into local and citywide park acquisition reserves from 2000 to 2004.
In Access Request 05-1902 I asked for a breakdown of debt incurred for Parks and Recreation capital projects from 2000 to 2004. The records I received showed debt and "other," i.e. funds used to pay for capital projects that were not debt, for those years. The chart defined "other" as "Development Charges and Cash-in-Lieu…, Section 37 and 45 contributions when known, donations and fund-raising initiatives by the City or Public."
In Access Request 05-2667, I asked for a breakdown of the "other" category for 2000 to 2004.
For 2000, the first chart (05-1902) listed the total “other” funds as $8.1 million. The second chart (05-2667) listed the total “other” funds as $25.3 million.
For 2001, the first chart listed “other” as $7.6 million. The second chart listed “other” as $18 million.
For 2002, the first chart listed “other” as $18.4 million. The second chart listed “other” as $30.1 million.
For 2003, the first chart listed “other” as $19.5 million. The second chart listed “other” as $37.5 million.
For 2004 was the first chart listed “other” as $47.60 million. The second chart listed “other” as $47.85 million.
So the total 2000 to 2004 non-debt financing for Parks and Recreation capital projects was listed as $101.4 million in the first chart (of total financing of $216 million for approved projects, versus total actual spending of $205.8 million) and $158.8 million in the second chart.
Why are the numbers so different? Which are the right ones?
The second chart divides "other" three main categories: development charges, "other," and "reserve funds." What does the "other" subcategory of "other" consist of? What makes up the "reserve funds"?
If development charges are the same as park levies, that would mean that only $36.3 million of about $105 million (est. from Access Request 04-3224) was used for capital projects. Is that true?
In Access Request 05-1902, the first chart gives approved capital budget totals for each year from 2000 to 2004. The second chart compares planned capital spending totals (rates??) versus actuals. Comparing the first and the second chart:
2000: Approved: $50.5 million. Planned: $43.3 million. Actual: $42.6 million.
2001: Approved: $34.4 million. Planned: $63.8 million. Actual: $39.7 million.
2002: Approved: $29.2 million. Planned: $64.3 million. Actual: $31.8 million.
2003: Approved: $40.7 million. Planned: $72.9 million. Actual: $44.6 million.
2004: Approved: $64.9 million. Planned: $77.5 million. Actual: $47.1 million.
The second chart gives favourable percentages of "actual" versus "planned." But when the "approved" is compared to the "actual" it appears that Parks and Recreation overspent its approved capital budget by $5.3 million in 2001, $2.6 million in 2002, and $3.9 million in 2003. Then in 2004, the "approved" amount goes up astronomically.
Was this a transposition error, since the "actual" for 2004 is (uncharacteristically) much lower than the "approved"?
In Access Request 05-1902, the debt charges go from a low of $1.8 million in 2000 to a high of $11.1 million in 2004.
Four access requests explained that Toronto city council, around the time of amalgamation, voted to cover the Policy and Development capital projects section salaries with a percentage of capital projects costs. The percentages seem to vary from 2% to 10% with an average of 7%. Calculating 7% of the yearly "actuals," this would suggest that capital projects section salaries (2000 to 2004) were about: