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Ford votes at parks committee to stop blefties spending like drunken sailors’

Ford votes at parks committee to stop blefties spending like drunken sailors’

Mayor votes against service improvement proposals in 2014 budget

City Centre Mirror

ByDavid Nickle

inside_toronto

Mayor Rob Ford made an impromptu appearance at the city’s parks and environment committee Monday, Sept. 16, to vote down motions that would have seen possible service improvements in the 2014 operating budget.

It was the second time in a week Ford attended a committee meeting for the purpose of shifting a vote.

Last Monday, Sept. 9, Ford attended the government management committee to defeat a motion that would have looked at improving wait times for taxpayers calling into the city’s finance department to pay their bills.

This week, Ford cast the deciding vote against motions to provide funding for the Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, speed up tree pruning and turf maintenance by city workers, and refurbish aging playgrounds across the city.

Ford said he came to the committee meeting to stop blefties’ from putting unaffordable service enhancements into the budget, in advance of the 2014 budget being introduced at budget committee.

“We can’t have these lefties spending like drunken sailors,” said Ford outside his office, next to a television showing a campaign-style video of the mayor’s summer highlights.

“They’re reckless. They just don’t care. They have no respect for the taxpayers whatsoever. They never have and they never will. But the day of reckoning’s coming soon.”

The motions from the committee came as city departments are presenting the results of a service review, with the intention of generating suggestions that might go to the budget committee.

But some councillors have said they want to set budget parameters earlier, and at the next meeting of council want to have as many services as possible on the table.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Gord Perks moved a motion to look at refurbishing 30 playgrounds across the city.

“We here from the public that our playgrounds are in terrible disrepair. They only get repaired once every 80 years. We just want the information from staff to be there. The mayor doesn’t even want us to have the information. He came out of his office to make sure he doesn’t want the public to know what good public service costs,” said Perks.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette asked that the city consider funding the High Park Zoo which is currently being funded by donations.

She said if the city funded operating costs, then fundraising could go toward repairs and capital costs more effectively.

She said the issue will come up again one way or another.

“If the mayor hadn’t come to the meeting, our motions would have been dealt with today,b she said. bBut this doesn’t eliminate any suggestions. They’ll still come to the budget. All webre doing here is saying to the budget chief, take these things into consideration.”

Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher was championing more effective branch-trimming by city staff.

bCurrently it’s six months from when you ask for a tree to be trimmed and when it gets trimmed,b she said.

“I don’t think that’s a service level we should tolerate in Toronto. The mayor came in and nixed all of that. It’s a little surprising to come in and take out any service improvements before we get to budget. The budget committee will deal with everything, but a budget committee doesn’t have a high view like the parks committee. I think that’s why it’s so disconcerting. What is wrong with having that conversation? Is the mayor afraid of council?”