Council approves 2.75% property tax hike
WATCH: Dave Trafford reports that city councillors are worried that the tax hike will put the city on shaky fiscal ground.
TORONTO – You’re going to be paying more for property taxes.
City council passed the 2015 operating budget Tuesday implementing a 2.25 per cent property tax increase, an additional 0.5 per cent property tax increase for the Scarborough subway.
The base property tax increase is 2.25 per cent in keeping with Mayor John Tory’s promise to keep hikes at or below the rate of inflation.
“People may say the sky is falling. It hasn’t. We’ve been very prudent, we’ve kept taxes low,” budget chief Gary Crawford told reporters at city hall Tuesday.
While the property tax hike is only a modest increase, the cost of other services, like the TTC, and garbage collection will likely go up as well as councillors debate further increases Wednesday.
Former Mayor Rob Ford petitioned councillors to vote against a hike in garbage collection fees, circulating motions to that effect, and describing it as an unfair “burden” on taxpayers.
“This will lead to increases of as much as $126 per year per household (depending on the size of the bin) and that increase will be even higher with larger families that have more than one bin,” Ford said in a statement.
Crawford pointed out that the hike in garbage fees is, in part, meant to encourage people to reduce their consumption, which would allow them to actually save money.
“We’re trying to encourage people to go from a large bin down to a medium bin, a medium bin down to a small bin,” Crawford said.
“If you can do that, if you can achieve that, in fact you will save money.”
Council will also grapple with the idea of borrowing money from its own reserve funds to help cover the $86-million provincial funding shortfall and balance the budget.
However, despite the proposed tax increase, some councillors are suggesting a further hike is needed to offset the growing budget demands down the road.
Councillor Gord Perks tabled a motion to council to raise taxes by a total 5.6 per cent. It failed.
Councillor Ford circulated over 30 copies of proposed motions that sought to find further savings in the budget. Most of the motions suggested cutting service or jobs in order to save money.
Follow along live as Global News reporter Dave Trafford tweets from city hall beginning at 9 a.m. ET: