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$100M surplus falls into city’s lap

From crying poor less than a month ago, the City of Toronto now finds itself seemingly awash in cash.

They’re calling it the super surplus.

From crying poor less than a month ago, the City of Toronto now finds itself seemingly awash in cash.

A surprise $100-million-plus windfall announced yesterday by Mayor David Miller may be used to moderate taxes this year — and next.

It’s not unusual for Toronto to carry forward a surplus from the previous year; it’s made up primarily of funds left over in departmental budgets, plus unexpected higher revenues and lower expenses.

What’s unusual is the amount. When budget deliberations began Feb. 16, the city estimated it had a $250-million surplus from 2009, including $31 million in labour cost savings from the 39-day civic strike last summer.

Yesterday, Miller announced the surplus had grown to a whopping $354.8 million. The figure is the highest since 2001. In the intervening years, the highest surplus, posted in 2007, was $94.8 million.

Critics immediately pounced on the announcement as evidence of mismanagement.

For the budget committee, the surplus means greater flexibility to restore services that were about to be chopped.

Coun. Shelley Carroll, chair of the budget committee, said the highest priority would be to restore a rent subsidy for 373 daycares located in schools.

City council is to finalize the budget April 15-16.

 
 
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