Inflation-based property tax increase adopted by Toronto council
Property taxes in Toronto are staying at the rate of inflation.
As council meets to approve this year's budget, a rate increase of 2.5 per cent passed by a vote of 21-4.
That's an extra $100 on the average bill.
There was a strong push to raise the tax even higher.
Councillor Gord Perks was one of four councillors that made an argument in favour of pushing property taxes above the rate of inflation.
He wanted to see an increase of just over four per cent. "Council was told the last time we had a debate on the long-term financial health of the city in 2005 that we desperately needed more revenue if we were going to keep the suite of services that we had intact and if we were going to build the city for a growing population. We were told that 14 years ago, the last time we ever debated it," he argued. "We continue to fall behind. Our future ability to deliver the services we need - our roads, libraries, recreation services, community housing - we are falling behind on those."
His motion was rejected 5-20.
Councillor Shelley Carroll canvassed her constituents prior to today's council meeting and learned the majority were in favour of an additional one per cent on top of the cost of living. "I got back 'just do it.' 'Oh, $30 a year? OK, yes. Do it.'"
Mayor John Tory admits this is a difficult budget to balance but believes it can be achieved without cutting services or raising taxes through the roof. "I know how important it is for families, from seniors to young people just starting out, that life remains affordable for them in our city. People trust us to make responsible choices with the budget so they're not shocked by a sudden loss of an important city service or a jump in their daily costs."