After long council meetings listening to the pigs at the trough, the endless procession of those currently on the receiving end of the budget squealing about how bad life will be if they are not handed over other taxpayer money, a budget is coming to council in about five minutes.
Toronto is in a hole, created by our previous mayor (the liar who promised tax rate increases matching inflation), who was in love with spending the money of others on what often looked to me like vanity projects (typified by his environmental junkets, and while they were a small part of the expense they indicated how much he seemed to love being loved in the spotlight, by his chosen audience, all of this funded by many people with NO sympathy for his antics). Sue-Ann Levy (apology - originally had Anne) documents some of how we got here.
While the disasters are extensive she gives a few examples of poorly-managed construction initiatives:
That laissez-faire attitude has permeated the organization from the bottom-up and the top-down — resulting in a never-ending stream of construction projects that have come in over-budget and well beyond their projected completion date.
The 6.7-km St. Clair dedicated streetcar line — Mihevc’s pet project — is a prime example. It took more than five years to complete and came in at least 100% over its originally budgeted $65-million.
The 40-bed Peter St. Shelter — one of Vaughan’s legacies — is still not finished and at $11-million, is more than 100% over-budget.
One of Miller’s final insults to taxpayers before he left office in 2010 was to push through a $2.4-billion capital budget and long-term plan that stretched borrowing for major capital projects — the Spadina subway line and the waterfront — over a 40-year time frame.
That refinancing scheme will end up costing taxpayers $1.6-billion more.
This will be somewhat of a battle, as many of what seemed like Miller cronies are still on council and will hate to see any impact on their pet projects using taxpayer funding.
I will wager that to get to financial sanity, this is only a step, amd more pain will be needed.
This is a very hard task politically, and I can imagine it may cost mayor Ford any prospect of re-election. It is, after all, we idiot citizens, who balance poorly the benefits we get from a government (we'd love to have it give us all sorts of goodies) against the cost of the taxation and fees the city must impose (though many of the pigs at the trough balance this VERY well - they get the rest of us to subsidize them no end, using their votes).
Add to this drama, the city is in the midst of a contract negotiation with many of the workers in CUPE, the union representing them, and this union is already negotiating in a canny way for the public, with an initial salvo of offering a three-year wage freeze. The city needs more in contract changes to get the flexibility to cut costs.
So I have switched over to watching council in action; a measure of how important I think this is is that I was watching Kelly Ripa and Jessica Alba.