Two Weeks at City Hall
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Two Weeks at City Hall

Decoding the series of city council meetings that'll be happening this week and next.

Photo by {a href=""}marcus kamps{/a} from the {a href=""}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

The city is overwhelmed with City Hall talk these days: between budget cuts, revamping plans for the waterfront, and two polls that show a massive drop in support for Rob Ford, all eyes are on local government. Over the next two weeks a series of meetings will dominate headlines and political chatter. Here is a quick guide to what’s happening.

  • September 19: Executive Committee (agenda). The Executive Committee consists of Rob Ford’s strongest allies, and it is by far the most powerful of the city council committees. Exec will first hear deputations from members of the public who have signed up to express their support for or concerns about those cuts. Last time Exec met to discuss the budget it ran all night; many are expecting today’s meeting to run similarly long. (At press time 324 members of the public had signed up to speak.) After hearing from the public the councillors who make up the Executive Committee will debate the proposals before them, and decide whether they want to amend any of the suggested cuts. The final package of budget cuts they approve at the end of the meeting will be considered by a meeting of the full city council next week.
  • September 21–22: city council (agenda). This is a so-called “regular” meeting of city council, meaning that it will consider all manner of business that routinely gets discussed by all the various city council committees. The key item for debate will be the proposed changes to the waterfront development plans—taking control of development of the Port Lands away from Waterfront Toronto.
  • September 26–27: city council, special meeting (agenda not yet published). This is a special meeting of council, convened specifically to discuss the core service review and the proposed budget cuts approved by the Executive Committee. Councillors will, as they do at every meeting, have the opportunity to further revise the plans that come before them.

In the aftermath of two polls last week, both of which showed a considerable drop in support for Ford among residents in all parts of Toronto, many are speculating that the mayor will offer compromises on both budget cuts and the waterfront revisions. Focus will be on the so-called “mushy middle”—centrist councillors who thus far have tended to support Ford but who are believed to be more moderate than him, and willing to switch their vote as the political tides change. (A handy guide to how councillors have voted on key items.)

We’ll be liveblogging all three of these meetings. Got procedural questions? Ask us in the comments!