Mayor Rob Ford has given the police service a budget break he has not given the TTC, fire department, or any other city department or agency.
For 2012, Ford and city manager Joe Pennachetti have demanded a 10 per cent budget cut from every city entity’s 2011 budget. But Ford endorsed Police Chief Bill Blair’s request for a 0.6 per cent increase over the 2011 police budget ‘ $936 million, up from $930 million.
No other city entity has been permitted to begin its budget exercise at such a favourable starting point.
The police service, long a political third rail, is far from the only entity facing rising costs.
The TTC, for example, identified $39 million in new expenses for 2012, thanks to increases in salaries, energy costs and vehicle maintenance costs. Yet it was forced to come up with a 2012 budget that assumed the city would slash its annual subsidy by 10 per cent, or $46 million.
That budget included a major reduction in bus service and a cut of 1,000 employees.
The TTC chair, Ford ally Councillor Karen Stintz, would not answer directly Thursday when asked if the city should have granted the TTC the same latitude.
“We were all given a direction by the mayor’s office, and we were advised that our subsidy was going to be cut by 10 per cent. And we had to figure out our budget within that constraint,” Stintz said. “The difference is, we’re an agency that can charge a user fee. Obviously we wouldn’t have made up the entire (lost) subsidy with higher fares, but we are in a different situation than the police.”