Let’s Read: Toronto’s Long-Term Financial Direction

For years, the City of Toronto has been deliberately taking in less revenue while expanding infrastructure and services. Forget the “efficiency” bullshit—this has largely been made possible through unsustainable and unreliable funding sources. In this new report, top City bureaucrats warn City Council that they can’t postpone tough decisions any more.

Here’s the full report. It’s like 40 pages. Are you gonna read it? Hell, no! So here’s the gist.

Continue reading Let’s Read: Toronto’s Long-Term Financial Direction

The Cheat Sheet: September 30 City Council

City Council returns after its summer break, and there’s a lot to cover on the agenda. Read about Toronto’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis; taxi clusterfuck; Gardiner clusterfuck; new shelter standards; and more. Did I miss something? Let me know. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: September 30 City Council

The Cheat Sheet: Committee Meetings, May 19-25

I have been falling behind on my committee-agenda-reading agenda, I’m afraid. Better late and slightly half-assed than never. Coming up in the next few weeks: the final 2014 budget variances; extreme cold-weather drop-ins; misuse of TTC fuel credit cards; wildlife encounters; and more. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: Committee Meetings, May 19-25

The Cheat Sheet: May 5 City Council

Just in time for my 30th birthday, I’m getting the best present ever: a City Council meeting! This month’s agenda is jam-packed with important items, so fix yourself a drink while you read this. Up for discussion: funding the Scarborough subway, diversity on the TTC board, a new City Manager, the social housing waitlist, (not) fixing basement flooding, and more. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: May 5 City Council

Financial Facelift: Debt doubts cast shadow for world-class city with major expenses

Toronto chose to put low taxes ahead of infrastructure and services, but it has put her in a bit of a bind. She is 181 years old and has diverse thriving industries, a vibrant cultural scene, and well-loved municipal services like parks and libraries.

She has several major expenses, ranging from large-scale capital projects to everyday service improvements, all of which she wants to pay for without raising taxes or going into debt. As the nation’s economic hub, Toronto has substantial earning power — but she chooses to take in less revenue than she could. Continue reading Financial Facelift: Debt doubts cast shadow for world-class city with major expenses

The Cheat Sheet: Dec. 11 City Council

The first real City Council meeting snuck up on me! Much of the agenda will be familiar if you followed last week’s Executive Committee meeting. SmartTrack makes its debut, the budget schedule gets settled, and Mammoliti’s in trouble again.

Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: Dec. 11 City Council

2015: Threat or Menace?

Warning, serious wonkery ahead.

So I was a tad alarmed to see, in last month’s council agenda, this operating budget variance report projecting a year-end deficit of $1.783 million. And I’ve also been going back to David Hains’s look at the formidable 2015 budget gap and wondering if there’s anything to it. Basically, I’m wondering 1) how much of a mess will the next mayor inherit?, and 2) do they even know?

Continue reading 2015: Threat or Menace?

A Very Special Cheat Sheet: #TObudget 2014


  1. A Note: Operating Vs. Capital
  2. First, Some Context
  3. Operating Budget
  4. Capital Budget
  5. The Most Disingenuous Game

I don’t usually do Cheat Sheets for special meetings, but this one is for the 2014 budget! I love the budget!!! The entire exciting process, which started all the way back in November, is culminating this upcoming Wednesday in a meeting sure to be full of delightful surprises, dramatic reversals, procedural confusion, and petty, childish infighting. Continue reading A Very Special Cheat Sheet: #TObudget 2014