Public Works Service Cuts Pass First Hurdle

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Public Works Service Cuts Pass First Hurdle

CITY BUDGET CUTS Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee has been meeting all day at City Hall, discussing the findings of a KPMG report which detailed “opportunities for savings” that the City could find by eliminating or scaling back on some programs and services. Among the areas listed as open for cutting: cycling infrastructure, water fluoridation, waste diversion targets, environment days, and other environmental programs, outsourcing services such as garbage pick-up and clearing snow. After hearing from KPMG and about 30 deputants, and after questioning City staff, the councillors of the Public Works committee have considered motions to:

  • Moved by Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24, Willowdale): that the Executive Committee consider the full slate of service cuts listed in the KPMG report. Passed unanimously.
  • Moved by Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24, Willowdale) (as a sub-section of above main motion): that the city manager comment on possible service adjustments to the benefits and efficiencies for: snow plowing, removal, and windrow clearing; and street sweeping. Included in above vote, so passed unanimously.
  • Moved by Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24, Willowdale) (as a sub-section of above main motion): that the Executive Committee be provided further advice on the effects of eliminating fluoridation. Included in above vote, so passed unanimously.
  • Moved by Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina): that the Medical Officer of Health to report on health impacts of implementing the service changes listed in the report. Failed. (Voting in favour: Gord Perks, Mike Layton; voting against: Shiner, Denzil-Minnan-Wong, Mark Grimes, John Parker.)
  • Moved by Gord Perks (Ward 19, Parkdale-High Park): That the city manager, in his report to the Executive Committee in September, compare the savings opportunities listed in the KPMG report to the responses given by residents in the public consultations on the budget. Defeated.

Their recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive Committee, which will debate them at a meeting on September 19. If they are approved there, they will move on to consideration by a full meeting of city council at a special meeting, on September 25–26. Because of Shiner’s motion and the clauses it contains, the early indications are that snow clearing, street sweeping, and water fluoridation are the items from the report most likely to survive any service cuts. No motions were proposed regarding revisions to the waste diversion targets or the scaling back of cycling infrastructure.

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