Toronto City Council has passed the operating budget for fiscal year 2005. Personally, I don't call this a budget. A budget means prioritizing requirements - and cutting back on or even eliminating items that are not important. This is not a budget.
The city operating budget is also supposed to be balanced. In my mind, this does not mean selling capital assets and depleting reserves. Toronto council has done just that.
Toronto claims poverty and whines that there was no choice. Hard numbers put a lie to this. Sandra Pupatello - the Ontario minister in charge of social services sent and open letter to David Miller asking why Toronto's administrative costs in the Social Services department had risen so steeply since 2001 - despite a reduction in the caseload. Miller has apparently responded that this was due to provincial regulations.
It seems then that Hamilton - as an example - must be in a different province:
Admistrative costs per social services caseload:
Hamilton: $685 / case
(Per 2005 budget presentation - see page 4 of
Toronto: $2,439 / case
($153 million in 2004 for an average monthly caseload of about 62,700 - see this report from the Globe & Mail:
Toronto's social services staff is only slightly lower that in 1998 - when the average caseload exceeded 90,000 each month. It just seems that City of Toronto is so whipped by its unions that it can't let any staff go.