The 2021 staff-recommended rate-supported operating and capital budgets were launched at Budget Committee today. The City of Toronto has three rate-supported programs funded through user fees: Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management Services and the Toronto Parking Authority.
The City of Toronto, consistent with other large Canadian municipalities, has experienced significant financial impacts in the form of both added costs and revenue losses as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These unprecedented impacts are expected to continue into 2021, with anticipated financial pressures of approximately $1.8 billion.
The City has been working to find ways to reduce costs and mitigate rate increases, while preserving services and capital projects. City divisions and agencies have been asked to build their operating and capital budget requests with the guiding principles of addressing financial challenges that have been created by COVID-19, prioritizing initiatives that will support economic restart and recovery efforts, and finding opportunities to make the city more fair and livable for those who reside and work here.
Toronto Water’s 2021 rate-supported budget will ensure the City continues to provide quality drinking water and wastewater treatment services, while dealing with the impact of extreme storms, aging infrastructure and significant city growth. The recommended budget consists of: an operating budget of $1.4 billion including a capital reserve contribution of $946.5 million; a 2021 capital budget of $1.3 billion – the largest in Toronto Water’s history – that invests in the construction of new assets and the renewal of existing infrastructure; and a 10-year capital plan of $14.8 billion. As a result of COVID-19 and the financial challenges being faced by Toronto residents and businesses, the 2021 Toronto Water operating budget recommends a 1.5 per cent rate increase, rather than the originally planned three per cent rate increase. The average household would see a $14 total annual cost increase next year.
The Solid Waste Management Services recommended 2021 budget provides funding to support the delivery of solid waste management programs and services, as well as safety enhancements to trucks, state-of-good-repair projects for solid waste infrastructure and the continued development of renewable energy infrastructure. The budget also ensures the continued implementation of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy, which supports waste reduction, reuse and the move towards a circular economy. The recommended budget consists of: an operating budget of $362.0 million, plus a capital reserve contribution of $17.1 million; a capital budget of $69.1 million; and a 10-year capital plan of $737.5 million. A minimal rate increase of 1.5 per cent is recommended for all customers in 2021, rather than the originally planned 2.7 per cent increase in light of the financial pressures residents and businesses are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recommended 2021 operating and capital budgets for the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) ensure the continued availability of 19,000 on-street and more than 40,700 off-street parking spaces across 307 locations throughout the city. TPA also manages the Bike Share Toronto program, which includes 6,850 bikes and 625 bike stations, spanning 200 square kilometers. The recommended budget consists of: a gross operating expenditure budget of $95.7 million and $93.5 million in gross revenue for on-street parking, off-street parking and the Bike Share program; a capital budget of $24.3 million; and a 10-year capital plan of $234.4 million. The ongoing pandemic has resulted in reduced demand for TPA services, causing a decrease of $55.4 million in revenue for 2020, 93 per cent below budget. The effects of COVID-19 is anticipated to continue into 2021, impacting TPA’s ability to generate a net revenue, with recovery expected in 2022.
Budget Committee will review the staff-recommended budgets and hear public deputations on November 23. Toronto City Council will then consider the budgets for final approval at its meeting on December 16.
Residents are encouraged to share their views on the rate-supported budgets, and associated services, service levels, rates and user fees, at the Budget Committee meeting on November 23. More information on how to get involved is available online.
The City’s operating and capital budget for all other services and programs will be before Budget Committee in January 2021.
Budget notes, presentations and reports are available at toronto.ca/budget.
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