Toronto muses ban on union and corporate contributions
New policy must be passed by Dec. 31 in time for 2010 election
(Column written Nov. 6 for Town Crier.)
After years of debate, delay and foot dragging, the city plans to deal with the hot button issue of banning corporate and union donations in elections.
I would like to say it’s about time, but truthfully the city is dangerously flirting with running out of time.
This is a case of waiting until the eleventh hour to tackle an issue politicians clearly aren’t eager to vote on. Any new election finance reform policy must pass before the end of this year because all candidates can start registering on Jan. 4, 2010.
There’s no reason to defer the issue any longer.
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged 2010, ban, city, contributions, corporations, council, Councillor Michael Walker, Councillors Cliff Jenkins, donations, election, Executive Committee, finance, Kris Scheuer, Professor Robert MacDermid, rebates, reform, Stuart Green, Toronto, unions
Solid waste budget gets additional cash to avoid trash rate hike
Millions saved during summer strike diverted to garbage department
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Oct. 28 for Town Crier.)
Call it the garbage fee hike that never was.
Toronto city council couldn’t stomach implementing a proposed two percent increase for trash fees so soon after a strike that saw garbage collection suspended for 39 days.
The fee would generate an additional $4.8 million for the solid waste management department to implement additional waste diversion programs such as additional reuse centres for old mattresses and furniture to be recycled or sold rather than tossed in landfill. The proposed fee hike would have meant an additional $4-8 per bin depending on the size.
But instead of raising garbage rates, the city approved using $4.8 million out of the $36.1 million “saved” during this summer’s strike for the garbage department’s 2010 budget to hold the line on fees. Continue reading
Posted in garbage
Tagged $4.8 million, city council, Councillor Karen Stintz, fee, garbage, Geoff Rathbone, hike, Kris Scheuer, Mayor David Miller, rate, rebates, savings, Solid Waste Management, Strike, Toronto, Town Crier, vote
City to add millions to garbage budget to avoid fee hike
Proposal was to raise rates by two percent in 2010
By Kris Scheuer
(Oct. 29 update here.)
City council voted today to apply $4.8 million from money saved during this summer’s strike towards the garbage department’s budget.
While the city saved money in some departments during the 39-day labour dispute, in other areas it cost them more in overtime pay and legal costs.
Overall, the city came out $36.1 million ahead. Today city politicians debated what to do with that money: issue rebates, put it into general revenue or use part of it to off set proposed garbage fee hikes.
In the end, council voted 22-19 to apply nearly $5 million to Toronto’s garbage department budget to avoid a proposed two percent hike in rates for 2010.
The motion put forth by Councillor Karen Stintz passed after hours of debate.
For more on this story, please click here for update.
So what do you think? Was this the right use of $4.8 million?
How should city use the savings?
What’s your wish list: rebates or spend on services?
(Written Oct. 6 for Town Crier. Oct. 26 UPDATE.)
You remember the 39-day strike this summer? At the time I wrote this, city figures stated the government saved $33.1 million during the labour unrest.
So what should be done with this money?
The main three options for the city are to issue rebate cheques to residents, use it for specific programs or fold the windfall into general revenues. My preference is to use some of the money to bring down a planned garbage rate hike and if that’s not possible then instead put the millions towards balancing the 2010 budget. But I’d want to know how the money was specifically spent. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 2010, budget, Budget Committee, city, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby, Councillor Joe Pantalone, Councillor Shelley Carroll, Executive Committee, garbage, Kris Scheuer, Mayor David Miller, rebates, Strike, tax, Toronto, Torontonians