Council General Expense Budget
The Council General Expense Budget is used to fund centralized support and resources for all Members, as well as individual Councillor expenses as approved by Council (Approved by City Council in 2012: EX21.9 and CC27.5 and in 2014: EX37.1, EX42.1 and EX 42.2.)
A listing of the resources available / allocated to Members is in Appendix 1 of the Constituency Services and Office Budget Policy. Some of the resources funded through this budget are described in more detail below.
Constituency office expenses
As per the Parameters for Councillor Constituency Offices, each Councillor is provided with a constituency office at a civic centre (including City Hall), at another city facility or at a private property within the Councillor’s ward. This cost to set up and operate the constituency office is funded from the Council General Expense Budget, per guidelines approved by Council.
Each Councillor has an entitlement for communications with their constituents. The annual entitlement is based on the 2011 census information on the number of households in the ward, multiplied by the cost to distribute to all households based on the applicable Canada Post standard Admail rate. (City Council, 2012). In an election year, the newsletter entitlement is pro-rated.
Council has directed that legal fees for Members of Council are payable from the Council General Expense Budget. Categories for legal fees:
- Legal coverage related to activities of the Member while carrying out his or her official duties
- Legal fees related to:
- Proceedings before the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario concerning access to records held by a Member of Council
- Indemnification for Members of Council
- Code of Conduct investigations by the Integrity Commissioner
- Complaints or investigations handled by the Lobbyist Registrar, Ombudsman or Auditor General under Part V of the City of Toronto Act, 2006
- Investigations conducted by the Toronto Police Service related to the Members’ duties and responsibilities, excluding criminal investigations
- Legal expenses related to defamation actions brought by a Member of Council
Mobile devices and tablets
Through the Council General Expense Budget, each Member is provided with a:
- Smartphone supported by the City’s wireless infrastructure, including basic monthly voice and data plan; and
- mobile tablet, including basic data plan. (City Council, 2012)
Expenses related to the electronic equipment, including roaming charges will be charged to the Council General Expense Budget provided the Member has notified Strategic Integration and Excellence and roaming plans have been set up for the Member, prior to leaving the City.
Mobile devices for staff and monthly fees for staff are paid from the Councillor’s Constituency Services and Office Budget.
Entitlement related to requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)
A fund of $10,000 from the Council General Expense Budget is allocated for use by Councillors to provide accessibility services during meetings or events. Such services would be provided to meet requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
The fund is used on a first-come, first-served basis, with no limit per Councillor. Councillors wishing to use the fund must contact Strategic Integration and Excellence to ensure funds are available. (City Council 2017)