Nunziata explains her decision to vote for cuts

Frances Nunziata explained her decision to vote for service cuts in her email circular. The relevant section is below;

In the weeks leading up to City Council, I heard from many constituents in my Ward. I considered each email and telephone call that I received, and please rest assured that I looked to Ward 11 first and foremost throughout the budget process to ensure our residents would continue to have access to services important to us. I understand that the Toronto Public Library is a particularly important service for residents in the Ward and I took action to ensure that the Weston and Mount Dennis Libraries would continue to provide high levels of service, despite reports of low circulation in these branches.

I approached the Budget and the issue of program funding from a long-term perspective. The previous administration spent $700 million on streetcars – money which the City did not have to spend. The $154 million surplus was slated to be used to pay for this purchase, which was to be paid by debt. Deducting money from this surplus means that it will take longer to pay down this debt – and more money will have to be spent on debt servicing next year. Debt is a burden on all Torontonians that must be taken into account in a fiscally responsible budget. Ultimately, the funding that was restored to services will have to be reconsidered during the next budget cycle in order to finance the current debt.

The City is spending less this year on operating costs, $9.358 billion compared to $9.407 billion in 2011. The 2012 Budget has reduced the City’s reliance on one time revenue to cover costs from $346 million to $102 million. This Budget puts Toronto on a better fiscal path for future budgets; unfortunately, we will still be having some of the same discussions next year because the 2013 Budget pressure, with the amendments that were made at Council, is now $200 million.

The decision I made to vote against the additional expenditures that passed at Council was not an easy one and was not something I took lightly. That being said, I believe that it was the responsible choice to make for the future of the City and the provision of essential services in Ward 11.

Sincerely,

Frances Nunziata

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

6 thoughts on “Nunziata explains her decision to vote for cuts”

  1. “The previous administration spent $700 million on streetcars – money which the City did not have to spend. The $154 million surplus was slated to be used to pay for this purchase, which was to be paid by debt. Deducting money from this surplus means that it will take longer to pay down this debt – and more money will have to be spent on debt servicing next year”

    Funny how when the $360 million surplus was considered for the 2011 budget, the streetcar purchase was never even mentioned. Instead the whole lot was poured into the budget for tax cuts. So that pretty much shoots down that argument.

    Go read http://www.thegridto.com/city/politics/toronto-is-bigger-than-its-mayor/ for an analysis of the budget vote. The most pertinent section from the article:

    “Speaker Frances Nunziata was the most undignified, accusing supporters of Colle’s motion of “reading from a script,” dismissively editorializing on various councillors’ speeches and hectoring Colle for evading questions and telling him to “go ask your dad” about procedure.”

  2. The status quo on how the library operates needs to change. Weston library is getting more and more crowded. They need to update their software on the computers (still using WinXP?) Get more computers. It is true that most people who do come to the library to find out about jobs, community events and most of the time do work on their laptops. Very few take out books anymore. What makes me mad is all this talk of closing branches or cutting hours take away the real issue of how they managed the library it’s terrible. Same issues with the TTC. The most ideal solution is build a much bigger library in Weston or northwest area, I know that won’t happen soon. If you have the time just hop on the Wilson bus go to Downsview branch much bigger and no lineups to take out books! (they have self check outs)

  3. Having just read Frances’s newsletter justifying her vote — blaming the streetcar cost, streetcars that will benefit Toronto’s transit takers — and also citing the low circulation rates at Weston library, I am appalled. Streetcars and libraries benefit those without cars, without access to personal computers, without private space to do homework, to sit and read.

    Low circulation rates? Of course, libraries serving immigrant and poor populations will have low circulation rates, but our library is EXTREMELY well-used — there are people doing homework, job searches, reading newspapers, getting help with city services (funding cuts to service agencies have effects), and reading books: this is what libraries are intended to do and are needed for.

    It is not fiscally responsible to choose to close and criticize services that support people whose lives are on the edge. How else are they to become productive, tax-paying members of the city’s community and fiscal base?

    Undignified? Yes.

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