Tag Archives: taxpayers money

Using the city services you pay for

Many city services are free or subsidized by taxpayers’ dollars
Why not use the programs you pay to provide
By Kris Scheuer
(Column originally published March 19 for Town Crier.)

With the city poised to increase taxes and user fees in these tough economic times, why not take advantage of all the free and subsidized public programs you already pay for.
You can do more than borrow books and movies for free at Toronto’s 99 library branches.
There are free adult literacy programs at nine branches including the Don Mills Library where tutors will work one on one with people over 16 to improve basic reading, math and writing. Call 416-395-5555 for more info. 
Computer literacy is also important when so much information is accessible via the Internet these days. The Toronto Reference Library, just north of Yonge and Bloor Sts., is one of 14 locations that offer individual tutorials. Call 416-393-7209 for other locations. Continue reading

Strike cancels council meeting

Toronto labour unrest postpones city policy decisions

By Kris Scheuer
Garbage isn’t the only thing piling up during the strike.
Most official city business has come to a halt, including council’s regularly scheduled July 6–7 meeting which was cancelled July 2.
“The typical council meeting often considers over 100 items over a period of day,” stated a press release. “A regular council meeting is normally supported by unionized staff, who provide services to operate the facility.”
Also, non-unionized staff such as senior managers are required to be present to answer questions posed at council, but they are being redeployed to maintain critical services the statement concluded. Continue reading

Crowded Toronto school to expand again

But Maurice Cody must wait until 2010
By Kris Scheuer
(Published in Town Crier July 2/09)

Maurice Cody students will soon have more space at their overcrowded public school.
A $500,000 pre-fabricated addition will be attached to the Leaside-area elementary school by September 2010.
St. Paul’s school trustee Josh Matlow is happy the option.
“I think the pre-fab is a solution that’s very workable,” he told about 60 people at a June 16 meeting.
The school is currently closed to students living outside the catchment area. However anyone inside is guaranteed a spot. The existing building’s capacity is 397, but enrollment has grown significantly in the past decade and by this September the head count is anticipated to be 565 students.  Continue reading

Toronto strike drags on

By Kris Scheuer

The city could be in for the long haul when it comes to the garbage strike.
So says city manager Joseph Pennachetti at a press conference this afternoon.
“I wish I had a crystal ball,” Pennachetti said around 2:30 p.m. June 30. “I still say we literally have no idea when this strike will end.”
He stressed that the city remains ready to meet 24 hours with the Canadian Union of Public Employees
CUPE Local 79 and Toronto Civic Employees’ Union CUPE Local 416.
The city and unions continue to negotiate on a settlement, he said on day nine of the strike, but at 3 p.m. there had been no formal talks June 30 and nothing was currently scheduled for
Canada Day July 1.
During the strike, which started at midnight June 22, a number of city services have been suspended. This includes the cancellation of city run parks and recreation programs, community centres, camps, daycares, garbage collection, water testing at beaches, park permits and Canada Day events.
For a full list of affected city services click here.
(I wrote this June 30 and it was originally posted at www.mytowncrier.ca)

Toronto strike impact

How is the strike affecting you?
By Kris Scheuer
It’s day six of the strike and garbage is piling up in the streets, city waste transfer stations and 19 temporary dumps located near parks such as Christie Pits and beaches like Sunnyside.
Parents are having to find alternative arrangements as all city-run daycare is shut down.
City-run camps and recreation programs and community centres are a not open. And there’s no water testing at Toronto’s 11-designated beaches.
Check out the city’s website to see a full list of services affected by this labour disruption. Then tell me what service has impacted you the most since the strike began June 22?
As well, for articles on how this situation is playing out in TO’s communities please check out online coverage at the paper I work for the Town Crier.

Free lifetime TTC pass

Did you get yours?
You might if you’re a councillor on transit commission
By Kris Scheuer

Every year thousands of Metropasses are handed out in Toronto — including free one-year passes for city councillors and lifetime passes for former councillors who have sat on the commission overseeing the TTC.
However, at least one local councillor thinks the TTC needs all the paying customers it can get and says the free-ride policy should be changed.
Don Valley West Councillor Jane Pitfield is eligible for a free yearly TTC pass, but she declined the offer this year and plans to do so next year. She said she finds it’s easier to drive when she has a half dozen (or more) meetings each day. 
We receive an $84,000 salary a year. We are in the position to pay (to ride) TTC and we should support the TTC,” said Pitfield. “The TTC needs more operating money.”
She said every time someone with a free pass uses transit, that is $2.50 less in the fare box. Continue reading