UPDATE: Toronto Council approves operating budget for 2018

A special meeting of toronto City Council approved  the 2018 operating budget for the city.

In a release from the Mayor's office,  investing in priorities of Toronto residents while keeping the city affordable were key. 

"This year's budget is based on the belief that we can invest wisely and compassionately, improving life in the city while also operating within our means," said Mayor John Tory. "We are keeping taxes low while significantly investing in the areas that will have a real, positive impact on our residents' lives."
 
The 2018 budget contains over $50 million in new and enhanced investments. Among the key points passed:

" For the fourth year in a row, property taxes will be kept at or below the rate of inflation.
" A TTC fare freeze for our city's millions of daily transit riders.
" Investing more than $3 million in the TTC to help address crowding immediately.
" Funding for social housing repairs will continue and no Toronto Community Housing units will be permanently closed.
" More police officers will be hired and deployed with a focus on community safety.
" For the second year in a row, the police budget will be flat lined, something that had not been achieved before Mayor Tory's time in office.
" 1,000 additional shelter beds that will open as soon as possible.
" $170 million in additional gas tax money secured from the province by Mayor Tory will begin to be factored into the City's capital budget.
" Time-based transfers for the TTC which will allow people to hop on and off transit without having to pay again and again.
" Increases to the poverty reduction strategy, including implementing a Fair Fare Pass to help those in our city who can't necessarily afford to ride the TTC.
" Increased investments in childcare that would see the creation of 1,515 permanent new subsidies.
" Investments in additional traffic measures aimed at fighting congestion including permanent funding for Quick Clear Squads and traffic wardens along with funding for smart, traffic-moving technology.
" Full funding for the City's TransformTO plan to help us invest in a strong and resilient city.
 
"This is a good news budget. It invests in key areas while spending low and keeping tax increases low," said Budget Chief Gary Crawford. "Toronto residents want City Hall to build the city but they also appreciate that we strike the right balance, that we tighten spending, find efficiencies and don't hike taxes sky-high. For the fourth year in a row, I'm confident we have struck the right, responsible balance that people expect."

Council earlier approved a property tax hike at the rate of inflation for the 2018 budget.

They voted 31-11 in favour of a 2.1 per cent increase, which was the amount proposed by mayor John Tory.

The approved increase will mean an extra $81 this year for the average Toronto household.

 

with files from Justine Lewkowicz