Thursday, July 21, 2011

City's budget shortfall 'massive'

TORONTO - City manager Joe Pennachetti stressed the city’s budget shortfall is real and “it’s massive.”
Pennachetti made the comment Wednesday night during a community development and recreation committee meeting after Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam questioned how they were supposed to make decisions with “imaginary numbers.”
“We’re about to set forth into motion, potentially, the largest round of ... cuts of city services that we’ve ever seen in the history of this city without having real numbers,” Wong-Tam said.
Pennachetti responded by driving home the point that Toronto is facing a $774-million budget shortfall.
“I’ve heard this, we don’t know the numbers, I don’t know what else to say, it’s $774 million we’re starting with,” Pennachetti said. “You can assume a tax increase and knock that off, you can assume the $88 million of additional surplus from last year and after that there is nothing. It’s a shortfall that is in the range of ... still $600 million plus. It’s massive.
“There is no revenues being squirrelled away, that’s the reality,” he added.
Pennachetti acknowledged some councillors may assume that, in the past, the city came up with surpluses so it would happen again this year. But, he emphasized that won’t happen this year.
“It’s not going to happen this year, believe me it’s just not going to happen,” he said.
Wong-Tam asked Pennachetti, “How can you be so certain?”
“‘Cause I know,” he said.

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