Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Olivia Chow defends its 9.5% increase in the tax bill

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Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow defends her budget despite a hefty 9.5% increase in the tax bill this year.

Radio-Canada

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Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow promised a “modest” increase in property taxes during the election campaign. She now describes as “rather modest” the 9.5% increase in the tax bill contained in the 2024 budget, which she will submit to the municipal council for approval on February 14.

Ms. Chow's budget proposal closely resembles the budget that was prepared by officials, except for a 1% reduction in property taxes.

The mayor will draw on the City's reserves to finance this relief.

Chow says she needs to raise property taxes to avoid service cuts and to reinvest in maintenance, including repairing potholes and public fountains.

She denies imposing too steep a tax increase on Torontonians, even if it is the increase the highest since the municipal merger of 1998.

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It's less than $1 per day. You can't even buy a coffee at Tim Hortons at that price.

A quote from Olivia Chow, Mayor of Toronto

His budget also contains money for the development of a dedicated bus corridor in Scarborough, in the east of the city.

Mayor Chow affirms that the financial pact signed with the province gives a little more “room for maneuver” to the City from a financial point of view.

Ms. Chow, however, rejects the idea of ​​giving more money to the police service.

She notes that the police budget already exceeds that of last year. Police Chief Myron Demkiw is nevertheless demanding millions more, saying “public safety” is at stake.

The mayor says she must make difficult choices” for the budget. I inherited a financial pit, she says.

Chief Demkiw responds that he is “disappointed” with Ms. Chow's budget. The number of calls to police is up 19% this year, he says.

He says the lack of funding will undermine the hiring of agents to replace those who retire.

It will also have consequences next year and the following years.

A quote from Myron Demkiw, Toronto police chief

He does not rule out the idea of ​​cutbacks, including within the contingent of neighborhood agents.

We are creating an unprecedented risk, says the chief, who specifies that the police will have to reexamine “the prioritization of their resources.”

He promises nevertheless to “redouble our efforts” in its collaboration with Mayor Chow.

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