Email dated November 25 from the mayor:
Here is a summary of my remarks from today's Budget meeting:
Today, I'm proud to tell Toronto taxpayers that I am continuing to do the work for which I was elected.
Through this budget, the people of Toronto can rest assured that its City continues to:
hold the line on property tax
increasesinvest in priorities like the Scarborough Subway
deliver the services that they need
be a competitive city to do business
invest billions of dollars into Toronto's growing infrastructure needs
Since amalgamation, the City has carried an annual budget shortfall which in recent years has grown.
Each year's shortfall was solved with one-time fixes. These one-time fixes actually contributed to our financial issues, leaving us with an even bigger shortfall every year.
But I want to remind you that last year, my administration turned the corner. We looked at our services and determined which ones were our core services and found permanent savings.
And in 2013, because we found these savings, we were able to - for the first time since amalgamation - eliminate the unsustainable use of surplus money from the previous year to fund annual expenses.
I am happy to say that the 2014 City Budget is balanced, protects core services, and for the second year in a row, it is balanced without the use of prior year surplus funds.
However, I do not agree with the proposed residential tax increase of 2.5%; this is higher than the 1.75% increase which was agreed to back in January. I will be continuing to speak with the City Manager and Budget Chief to bring this number down.
The original 1.75% proposed included a buffer to allow for subway funding, and I also see no mention of a Land Transfer Tax reduction.
I find it hard to believe that in a budget of over $12 billion, we cannot find a further $18 million in efficiencies – that's less than two-tenths of one percent.
So far in 2013, City Council has approved over $12 million in spending that went against staff recommendations.
In just one short week since my powers were reduced, we can see the old ways of tax and spend have returned to City Hall. I will not stand by and let this happen, and the taxpayers of this City should not either.
I'd like to thank City Manager Joe Pennachetti, CFO Rob Rossini Josie LaVita, Director of Financial Planning, and the Budget Chief, Councillor Frank Di Giorgio for their work - and I'd also like to thank all the staff - for their efforts in drafting a proposed budget for City Council to consider.
Thank you for helping to usher in a new era in the City's history – one that's built on a strong foundation of accountability, transparency and strong customer service.
As always, please contact me at 416-397-FORD (3673) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can ever be of assistance to you.
Mayor Rob Ford
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Mayor Ford's Four Priorities:
1 Customer Service Excellence
2 Transparent & Accountable Government
3 Reduced Cost and Size of Government
4 Transportation City
And as Conrad Black said at the NationalPost:
.... We seem to have reached the turning: those who should not have become so vocal do not seem able to put up or shut up, and the mayor, who is not, for many people, a style-setter, appears to be competent to continue in the task which he was elected to perform. Those who disapprove of him, but are wary of the heavy numbers of his supporters, take refuge in the suggestion that he take a break to deal with his “substance” or addiction “issues.” The capable and normally politically astute Employment minister, Jason Kenney, an Alberta MP who has no discernible dog in this hunt, suggested the mayor “step aside.” I don’t see why he should...............
and much more which should be read in full as he is one of the very few prominent Canadians who have had the guts to come out and defend the mayor.
As for the Toronto Star, the idiots have made the most money the last few weeks thanks to the mayor. The weekend I left for my vacation I picked up the Toronto Star that someone had discarded on the seat I occupied in the transit lounge and much to my disgust EACH AND EVERY PAGE of that yellow mess was full of slanderous articles about not only mayor Ford but slanderous articles about his family and friends. Disgusting state of affairs at the Toronto Star. Yellow journalism at its worst.
The Toronto Star is so shameless, bruised ego or not, they still have the audacity to post an article in response to Conrad Black's piece at the National Post:
...Writing about His Worship in a recent newspaper column, The Lord High Windbag prattled on about Ford as if his problems amounted to nothing more than “his full-figured, Archie Bunker style.”
Clearly, his Lordship brayed, this is a case of “rank hypocrisy from mouthy journalists and gimcrack municipal politicians, and . . . the confected and inflated sanctimony of prigs and twits.”
Black should know. The toadiest of felons ever to spend time in an American jail, he has also suffered at the hands — and pens — of the hypocritical media. Except, of course, from those he owned.....