Over the last few months I have had the privilege of chairing the Budget Committee and the 2015 budget process.
At the time of writing this article, we had the first wrap up under our budget belts and we’ll be looking at the final wrap up through our rear-view mirror in a few days. The committee has listened to the public and has crafted and debated a solid budget that will be presented to the Executive Committee and then on to City Council for final approval.
This is a budget we all can be proud of. It is focussed on getting Toronto moving and keeping taxes below the rate of inflation, while making the largest investment in service improvements in recent history.
There have been some feisty discussions, but at the end of the day, the Committee has worked diligently with the City Manager, the Mayor and Councillors to find practical, prudent solutions. Our key priorities include transit, poverty reduction, public safety, wellness and infrastructure. Nearing the finish line, I can say that we have kept our commitments and we’re getting Toronto moving.
Just like all Toronto families, the City needs to live within its means. Even with the challenge of a funding shortfall, due to the Province cancelling the Social Housing Pooling Grant, we used a responsible solution to spread the budgetary impacts over a number of years. This will protect the investments in transit and poverty reduction while maintaining a modest tax increase below the rate of inflation. Still, we will continue to look at efficiencies within the City and will appeal to other levels of government to contribute their fair share.
In the community, our local volunteers are doing their share to put together fantastic events including the upcoming Scarborough Green Fair. We are fortunate again this year that the fair is host to Seedy Saturday. Join us on March 28th from 11:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Blessed Cardinal Newman High School for this terrific day.
Also, there are some great events at our local Scarborough Civic Centre.
Cultural Hotspot East Legacy Connects is being hosted on March 12th, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in Committee Room 1. Throughout March, there is also a free concert series every Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.: March 1st, George Lake Big Band; March 8th, Thornhill Swing Band; March 15th, Bob Cary Orchestra; March 22nd, Eddie Graf Orchestra and March 29th, Mike Danton Band.
To those of you who have met with me at the Civic Centre over the past months, thank you. I look forward to our local Community Drop-in dates resuming on April 10th.
Feel free to contact my office to set up a time to meet with me at either Birchmount Community Centre or at Scarborough Village Recreation Centre.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day! It’s always great to celebrate any occasion locally. As per tradition, I’ll be out and about on St. Patrick’s Day enjoying festivities with residents in the area.
If there are local concerns that you believe should be looked into, please do not hesitate in contacting my office. My staff and I are here to assist: email@example.com or 416-392-4052.