Books, bedbugs and cops all line up for more money from his Fordship

Books, bedbugs and cops all line up for more money from his Fordship

The Toronto Public Library board meetings are not typically hot events. Except for last night, when the room was packed to standing room only at the Reference Library as patrons, councillors and John Sewell came out to defend the Urban Affairs branch from staff-proposed closure. Nothing brings out Toronto’s urban literati like threatening their library. The Library Board wasn’t the only city department to vote to increase its budget—the opposite of what Mayor Rob Ford had requested. The police asked for more money, as did the Board of Health.

The Globe and Mail has the rundown:

Instead, the [TPL] board settled on a branch-saving deal that brought the total request in at about $171.5-million, 2.6-per-cent or just over $1.1-million more than last year….

The Board of Health, meanwhile, approved a 1.49-per-cent net budget increase Thursday, a hike made larger by a last-minute request for $500,000 in city cash to tackle bedbugs.

The library and health boards are just following the lead of the Toronto Police, who responded to the mayor’s request by saying it was “impossible” to find the reductions in spending that would be needed—too much police spending is mandated by either law or their collective bargaining agreement.

This isn’t the end of this fight. These budget requests next go through various committees controlled by the mayor or his allies, so it’s likely the reward for not making the cuts themselves will be to have the mayor make cuts for them. Maybe the police can get away with this kind of thing, but we just don’t think Ford is as fond of libraries as he is of police.

• Bed bugs among budget pests biting into Ford’s hold-the-line plans [Globe and Mail]
Public Health bumps up its budget [Toronto Sun]
• Library board defies Ford to seek increase [Toronto Star]