The City’s Transportation Services maintains approximately 8,000 km of sidewalks, 5,600 km of roads, 130 km of expressways, 842 km of cycle tracks, bike lanes and trails and 2,284 traffic signals;
The Toronto Paramedic Services provided an estimated 220,603 emergency patient transports in 2015, a 5% increase from 2014;
The Toronto Police Service has 5,275 officers using 1,468 cars, 40 motorcycles, 24 boats, 26 horses, and 471 other types of vehicles including bicycles and trailers;
The City budget is a financial plan that describes where the City’s money comes from and how it will be spent. There are two types of budgets – operating and capital, and each one serves a different purpose.
The budgeting process is a highly political one and with lots of conflicts. There is only a certain amount of money that the city collects and it has to decide how to divide it up. Adding more money to parks and recreation programs would mean taking away money from another department like emergency services or human and social services.
The budget is a financial plan created by the City of Toronto to figure out how much money it will raise and spend within a year. It outlines the City’s priorities with the services it delivers to the residents as well as what infrastructure it will purchase, build, and repair. By creating a budget the city knows how many paramedics, police officers, parks workers, planners and other staff to hire within that given year. It also estimates how much money the city will generate through property taxes, transfers from the province and federal government and user fees.
The budget is created by the finance department through the use of citizen and business input. They gather a variety of information about their assets and attempt to balance many conflicting interests. Ultimately council decides what the spending goals are and how they will manage any borrowing repayments over the next few years.
One of the major revenue tools for the Toronto City Budget is raised through property taxes. In the 2016 operating budget 34% of the $11.7 Billion of the “money coming in” will be dedicated from property taxes. This is the largest share of revenue that the City receives money from. Different property owners pay different shares of property taxes. It depends on the value of the land and structure. Varies per property.
The operating budget covers the day-to-day spending. The capital budget, funds the City’s assets that support the building and repair of transit, roads, bridges, public buildings, community centres and other projects. The City is required to make sure that the money spent is equal to the money collected, otherwise known as ‘balancing the budget’.
Below are breakdowns for the 2016 budget that shows where money comes from and where it goes for both the capital and operating budgets.
Nataliya Kelbas is GTA-based urban planner interested in community engagement, environment, food security, transit and using data to tell stories. You can get in touch with her: Twitter- @nkelbas | LinkedIn - https://ca.linkedin.com/in/nkelbas