Toronto homeowners are in for a nearly three per cent property tax hike, as city council approved the 2018 budget on Monday.
Councillors voted 31 to 11 in favour of the budget, which included the 2.1 per cent property tax hike.
However, residents will have to pay an extra 0.5 per cent for the city’s build fund, which supports transit and housing projects, as well as an increase of 0.31 per cent as part of the city’s business climate and reassessment impact strategy. This brings the total residential property tax hike to 2.9 per cent.
For example, a homeowner whose home is assessed by the city at $624,418 will have to pay an extra $82 in municipal property taxes for a total of $2,907 for 2018.
Since taking office Mayor John Tory has been steadfast in his refusal to raise property taxes above the rate of inflation every year, which is what city council has done again this year.
However, some councillors are critical of the mayor and his unwillingness to hike taxes a little more.
“This is an election budget, it’s a band-aid budget, but more important, it’s an unsustainable budget,” Coun. Sarah Doucette said.
Coun. Mike Layton also believes the rate needs to be higher, in order to pay for what the city needs.
“We’ve decided to build this straw house, to build the unsustainable house, to go halfway on some of these measures to investigating in a really strong city,” Layton said.
There were some motions brought forth for the property tax hike to be greater, but they were voted down.
Aside from property taxes, the city will also be making a record high investment in transit this year, with $1.98 billion in the budget allocated for the TTC — that makes TTC funding about one-fifth of the city’s operating budget this year.
Toronto city council approved a 2018 tax supported operating budget of $11.12 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $25.98 billion. Some of the details, provided by the city, are below. Click here for more information on the budget.
The 2018 operating budget includes funding for new and enhanced services including:
- Additional 1,515 childcare subsidies, and support for the new Child and Family Centres Program
- 700 winter respite shelter beds
- Operation of three new permanent shelter sites
- Implementing TTC’s recommended two-hour time-based transfer policy on Presto
- $3 million to relieve overcrowding on TTC bus routes
- $1.3 million to implement congestion-fighting measures such as Traffic Enforcement Officers
Some of the new investments in the 10-year capital plan include:
- $279 million in interim capital funding to address the TCHC state-of-good-repair backlog and current revitalization projects to avoid permanent closure of its units
- $485.8 million for the George Street Revitalization project
- $178.6 million to acquire and construct nine shelter sites and renovate two leased sites over a three-year period that will add 1,000 new permanent shelter beds
- $6.4 million for a feasibility study of the Rail Deck Park, $3 million for the design and development phase of determining future uses of Old City Hall and $3.5 million to complete design work for the new Etobicoke Community Centre
- $46.7 million for critical state-of-good-repair projects such as the St. Lawrence Centre Roof project, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy project and the Multi-Branch Renovation project of the Toronto Public Library
- $2 million to address critical waterfront rehabilitation due to high lake-effect flooding
City council also approved a 2018-2027 tax supported capital budget and plan of $26 billion, 72 per cent of which will be allocated to transit and transportation projects such buying buses and streetcars, expanding the subway, and fixing the Gardiner Expressway.