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City council approves property tax hike

CityNews | posted Thursday, Feb 16th, 2017

Toronto homeowners will be paying more this year after city council voted 35-8 in favour of a hike to the residential property tax rate.

Mayor John Tory said he is proud of council for setting the property tax rate increase at a “responsible number.”

“I think that we have this just about right,” Tory said. “Taking into account the fact that, yes people are having some difficulty finding ways to make ends meet because of a lot of different bills they get.”

Factoring in other fees and levees, the average homeowner’s taxes will rise by about $160 this year.

During the debate, Tory got into war of words with Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti over efforts to get money out of Queen’s Park.

Mammoliti had put forward a motion to set the property tax rate at zero. The motion did not pass.

Meanwhile, other councilors were pushing for an increase of about double what was proposed.

“I suppose almost any number, given the complexity of the challenges of running a big city, might be argued as not being enough,” Tory said.

Councilors gathered on Wednesday to review the more than $12-billion operating budget and almost $40-billion 10-year capital budget plan. The plan included both the property tax hike and transit spending.

“We have put forward a budget that restrains property tax increases to the rate of inflation, a promise that I will keep to Toronto’s homeowners,” Mayor John Tory said at the Empire Club on Tuesday.

Tory said the budget includes includes $80-million more for the TTC than last year, which is the largest increase in as many years.

He said more than $180 million is being invested to make Toronto more affordable for low income residents, including hundreds of childcare subsidies.

Mayor John Tory spoke to 680 NEWS reporter Jaime Pulfer listen to the interview here.

Last month, Tory said the 2017 operating budget the city will be funding 300 new child care subsidies.

The police budget is lower, and Toronto Community Housing is getting more than $30 million in additional money.

However, many councillors argue the budget doesn’t do enough for affordable housing and many things low income families rely on.

Activists are expected to gather outside City Hall on Wednesday morning ahead of the 9:30 a.m. meeting.

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