City of Toronto launches 2021 tax-supported budgets

Today, the City of Toronto's Budget Committee began the process of reviewing the staff-recommended tax-supported operating and capital budgets for 2021. The budgets will be reviewed and debated by Budget and Executive Committees before being finalized and approved by City Council at its meeting on February 18.

The City 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 impacts are expected to continue into 2021, with anticipated financial pressures of approximately $1.6 billion.

The 2021 staff-recommended tax-supported operating budget of $12.09 billion focuses on managing COVID-19 impacts and recovery, preserving existing services within health guidelines, keeping property taxes affordable and building a prosperous Toronto with a focus on equity. When combined with the $1.86 billion rate-supported operating budget approved by City Council on December 16, 2020, the total 2021 operating budget is $13.95 billion. The budget includes $56 million in new investments to support building a prosperous Toronto and delivering on key commitments, such as road safety, mobility, modernization, culture, and equity and reconciliation.

The operating budget includes $1.6 billion in funding through continued partnerships with the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to address the impacts of COVID-19, of which $740 million is currently secured. The budget also includes $573 million in savings and offsets through City-led mitigation strategies.

The recommended tax-supported 10-year capital plan is $29.05 billion, which includes funding for key areas such as mobility, housing, modernization and the environment. With the additional $15.65 billion rate-supported capital budget approved by City Council on December 16, 2020, the total 10-year capital plan is $44.70 billion. This capital budget continues work on Council-approved investments, including significant contributions to address state-of-good-repair needs within the TTC and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).

The budget proposes an overall average budgetary increase of 0.51 per cent. This equates to a 0.70 per cent property tax increase for residential properties – an additional $22 for the average Toronto household, a 0.35 per cent increase for commercial properties and a 0.23 per cent increase for industrial properties. There will be no increase for multi-residential or apartment buildings, as per provincial legislation.

The budget includes a 1.5 per cent City Building levy consistent with the City's planned and approved capital funding strategy, costing the average Toronto household an additional $47. This dedicated levy will be invested in major transit and housing capital initiatives. The City Building Fund was first approved by City Council as part of the 2017 budget.

The public can share their feedback with the Budget Committee at public presentations, scheduled to take place on January 25 and 26. More information about how to make a deputation is available at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/index.do.

Budget notes, presentations and reports are available at http://www.toronto.ca/budget/.

Quotes:

"The proposed 2021 budget is focused on preserving services and keeping much-needed capital projects on track in the face of the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19. I firmly believe now is not the time to be cutting services and that individuals cannot afford significant tax increases to cover our shortfall. This budget will ensure the City is making substantial and necessary investments to manage the continued impacts of the pandemic to protect residents and the services that must remain strong. I am working to secure further support from the federal and provincial governments again this year. A renewed Safe Restart agreement will provide the support necessary to keep much-needed capital projects on track. This year's capital budget means more jobs for people, helps the economy keep rolling, and makes sure we keep making the long overdue investments in infrastructure that we all know are necessary."

– Mayor John Tory

"The City's budget this year is responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic and is responsible in the face of the City's financial challenges. The City's demonstrated efforts at keeping costs down and finding savings to preserve service levels while keeping property taxes affordable has been effective in responsibly managing the significant impacts of COVID-19 and the City's recovery.”

– Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough-Southwest), Budget Committee Chair

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