JP Boutros on City Budgets, Savings, and Efficiencies (Eglinton-Lawrence)

Saving Money at City Hall

Other candidates talk about saving money – but they’re never specific. That’s because you can’t do much with the City budget for years unless you understand how it works.

I’ve been in the frontlines of City budgeting, and worked closely with officials and councillors as we fought to save money in TTC operations. I know the difference between nickel-and-diming a service and finding real efficiencies.

With better management and managers – see this example here – we can get more from our public services without having to cut service or spend more money. We need to think, act and manage like it’s the 21st Century. Yet, there is money to be saved at City Hall. If we save it, You can count on me to take a leadership role on these five areas:

  1. The Scarborough Subway – The money wasted on this project is more than enough to pay for many of our transit needs in Ward 16 and on the Yonge Street corridor. It could even be used to cover the costs of a failure of TIF financing for John Tory’s Smart Track plan if Council adopts it.
  2. Council perks and public service severance – Councillors can receive up to a year’s severance, just for deciding they don’t want to run again. Senior management severance is also generous and lacking in transparency and consistency. These perks can serve as a back-door pay increase, and I’m not afraid to fight for fairer, cheaper and more transparent rules in this area. It won’t balance the budget on its own, but it’s important to save at the top as well as in operations to set a positive example.
  3. Reducing the City Hall car fleet – Other cities have saved millions by using carshare and rideshare servicess to dramatically reduce the number of cars the City buys or leases for its own workers, with environmental benefits.
  4. Controlling Police budget growth – The Toronto Police Service budget has grown more than twice as fast as inflation, and rising costs are crowding out other services. I support proposals that can save money in policing without reducing frontline police coverage – including simple, tested changes to the police shift structure that could save $25m a year.
  5. Contracting garbage collection – I support tough rules for contractors, but if those rules are met, I support contracting out the remaining section of the City’s garbage service to private contractors.