At city’s Budget Committee, councillors have few questions for staff about city spending

Dec. 12, 2017

City councillors had the opportunity to ask City of Toronto staff about the 2018 operating budget on Tuesday morning at the Budget Committee, however there were so few questions from elected officials that the meeting actually ran ahead of schedule. The committee actually had to recess to wait for Medical Health Officer Dr. Eileen de Villa, who was not in the room when an item on Toronto Public Health came up.

“Generally, in years past, we have taken a little longer to do this first section. Why don’t we take just a five minute recess? We’re just waiting for her [de Villa] to show up,” Budget Committee Chair Gary Crawford said to the committee.

From the 11 divisions where staff were available to answer questions in public, there were almost no questions for staff from Courts Services, Toronto Employment and Social Services, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration – TCHC, and the Affordable Housing Office.

Among the questions for Economic Development and Culture staff, Councillor Paula Fletcher asked about the number and cost of missions that politicians and city staff will take in 2018. “What is the plan? You must have a yearly plan for missions that you lay out: here’s what we’re going to be travelling on this year. Is that something that exists?”

“We are working on that for 2018. We haven’t fully figured that out. We know there will be fewer this year, but we don’t have it right now,” General Manager of Economic Development and Culture Mike Williams said.

Williams said the costs of all 11 missions that occured in 2017 where the city spent money or staff time are available and can be made available in a briefing note in the new year.

The meeting started at 9:30 a.m. was done by 12:15 p.m.