Rob Ford introduces his first budget. Here are the highlights and lowlights

Rob Ford introduces his first budget. Here are the highlights and lowlights

Ford funds: the mayor introduced his first budget today at city hall (Image: City of Toronto)  

As we’ve already mentioned, Rob Ford introduced his budget at a morning press conference. There will be arguments aplenty over whether Ford is breaking his promise to not have any “major” service cuts, or whether the mayor has the right priorities for the city. For now, it’s probably enough to get some idea of what the changes are. Here are the highlights (these things always involve a bit of number fatigue, so bear with us).

  • $100,000 cut from the tenant defence fund, which is supposed to do exactly what its name implies: help tenants in disputes with their landlords. So renters—who already have a hard time getting people’s attention—just got a little less help.
  • $23 million in user fee increases, consisting of, well, Ford doesn’t know yet (details apparently coming tomorrow). If there are any overdue books in your closet, though, we recommend returning those sooner rather than later.
  • Oh, and that pretty four-rink hockey centre that was planned for the Lower Donlands? That’s cut, too.

Probably the most noteworthy thing about this budget is that almost all of the fiscal room Ford is using to keep (some) taxes frozen and keep (some) services from being cut comes from the accumulated surplus of the 2009 and 2010 budgets, care of David Miller and former budget chief Shelley CarrollOnce more, we assume that given the results, neither the current or former mayor enjoys people pointing that out.

• Ford to balance books with no new taxes, no big service cuts [Globe and Mail]
City Budget: Small cuts now, pain for 2012 [Toronto Star]