Budget problems not isolated: Chair
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Durham Region Chair Roger Anderson is finding it increasingly hard to be sympathetic to the City of Toronto’s latest financial crisis.
“It’s hard for me to criticize the City of Toronto or support the City of Toronto when the City of Toronto seriously thinks that the sun rises and sets in Toronto,” Anderson said yesterday.
What’s lost, he says, amid the noise and dramatic headlines over Toronto deficit horror stories is many other GTA municipalities face similar problems, yet quietly go about doing what is necessary to balance their budgets.
Usually, it means making harsh choices between two things: Cuts to services or property tax hikes, something 905 municipalities and regional councils have not been afraid to do in recent years.
“Toronto is in the same position as the rest of us,” said Anderson, referring to the financial problems posed by downloading of many services to municipalities by former premier Mike Harris.
“We deal with it through good management of our services and, very unfortunately, by raising property taxes,” he said.
Toronto, which has kept tax increases relatively small, has typically waited for a bailout by the province, a luxury not afforded to other GTA municipalities.