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Childcare, rent fees to spike after city calls them ‘too low’

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Author: 
Doolittle, Robyn
Publication Date: 
13 Sep 2011

 

EXCERPTS

By all indications, it's going to be notably more expensive to enroll your kids in city programs next year.

On Monday, the city manager's long-awaited review of user fees was released, and while it wasn't as comprehensive as initially planned - the report focused on broad policy goals rather than specific increases - the message was clear: "user fees are generally set too low."

And while no specific program was flagged, the report found that some user fees have not been reviewed since amalgamation.

A second report due sometime in fall will describe which of the city's more than 3,700 user fees, which cover recreation programs, admissions, licensing, childcare, rents and water consumption, among other things, will be affected.

For now, city manager Joe Pennachetti has asked the mayor's executive committee to approve a citywide policy and set criteria for establishing how much services cost.

Each year the city takes in a little more than $2.8 billion from these fees. For the most part, the city has not accurately priced out how much it costs to deliver the services for which fees are charged, so it's impossible to determine what's appropriate.

...

The new policy would break down fees into four categories, based on who uses the service. For example, police patrols should be 100 per cent funded through taxes because they benefit the entire community. Alternatively, a building permit should be completely paid for by the individual through a fee, because it solely benefits that individual. Community services, which have some public and individual benefit, would be funded through a mixture of sources, though primarily as fees.

According to the policy, fees should still be waived, in whole or in part, for "identifiable vulnerable groups." But if having a low income is one of the criteria, the income range should be clearly outlined.

...

- reprinted from the Toronto Star

 

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Entered Date: 
13 Sep 2011
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