“…I might have some pool of funds somewhere that are hiding somewhere, I don’t know.”
— Toronto Budget Chief Frank “Pockets” Di Giorgio, in response to the provincial announcement of a 3 year, $150 million phase out of pooling funds.
Well, since obviously just anybody can be the city’s budget chief overseeing a $10 billion or so annual operating budget, why not all of us?
A group calling itself Better Budget T.O. has come together, hosting an inaugural event last night at the Academy of the Impossible’s Campaign School. It is a nascent movement here that has taken root in other places like Calgary, New York City, South America with the intention of bringing about a more inclusive way of putting together the city’s budget. Participatory Budgeting. A grassroots approach that not only endeavours to de-mystify the budget process but to build political engagement at the community level.
While not perfect, the municipal level is a great place for the public to influence how tax dollars are spent. Federally, provincially, the budgets are delivered, largely sight unseen. Boom. Press lockdown. There you go. Locally, the process is much more public, coming together over a longer (albeit not long enough) process that begins in earnest in the fall and concludes at city council in mid-January.
But as was pointed out last night, transparency does not automatically mean clarity. Sure, we can see but we’re not sure what we’re looking at. The budget can be intimidating. The numbers overwhelming. But people, trust me. If the likes of Councillor Frank Di Giorgio can be seriously considered capable of putting together Toronto’s budget, anyone can. And I mean anyone.
A Better Budget for a Better City, writes Lisa Marie Williams of the Wellesley Institute. As the mayor keeps telling us, it’s our money he’s fighting for. So let’s make sure it’s spent the way we want. Let’s truly make it our budget.
— all-together-nowly submitted by Cityslikr
Di Giorgio was a math teacher taking over from a CA that stepped down in frustration because Mihevc challenged the transparency and ultimately his integrity.
Due to Flaherty there are slowing housing sales though prices are higher so it’s inconclusive what projections can be made for 2014.
Not to mention that Fords are not starting at a “balance budget” rather a now $250 million opening pressure.
P.S. the Star has been doing many articles on housing and homelessness recently
Now that the residents of Toronto have made their final tax installment payments. Being half way through the year. Rob Ford has cost the City at least $500,000,000.00 MORE than the gravy budget.
Maybe if we had participatory budgeting; the gullible people that voted for Ford will realize that the repair backlog has grown from $350 million to $751 million and an additional $50 million due to the Provincial cut because of the Ford’s big mouths