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A makeshift home seen in Toronto on Mar. 1, 2018.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Toronto officials have released a proposed 2019 budget that will only balance if the federal government offers up $45-million to cover the costs of housing the influx of refugee claimants in the city’s shelter system.

The draft $13.46-billion budget, unveiled by city manager Chris Murray on Monday, must still be debated and approved by council, which will vote on it in March. It would keep the residential property-tax rate increase to 2.55 per cent, a rate-of-inflation hike as promised by Mayor John Tory. Police and TTC budgets would rise, and there is cash for new youth programs aimed at curbing gang violence.

But, the proposal would also increase user fees for parks and recreation programs, hike transit fares by 10 cents and see the fees Torontonians pay for garbage pickup rise by up to $96 a year.

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The Scarborough councillor who serves as Mr. Tory’s budget chief, Gary Crawford, repeatedly called the budget “balanced” even though it relies on a $45-million cheque from Ottawa, a funding commitment the federal government has yet to make. (By law, the city cannot run an operating deficit.)

“Hopefully, that money will come through,” Mr. Crawford said, noting that Mr. Tory was in Ottawa along with other big city mayors across the country on Monday for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pressing this very issue. “In the event that it doesn’t, that is something that as part of the process we need to look at."

Mr. Murray, the city manager, told reporters that the city had no formal indication that Ottawa would cover the cost. To date, Ottawa has given the city $26-million in funding for costs it has already incurred through its bulging shelter system, well shy of the city’s demands. It announced $15-million of that funding just last week.

City officials say they based the 2.55-per-cent property-tax hike on Ontario’s inflation rate from Statscan, which was at 2.5-per-cent in October when budget planning began. City officials say the effect of the proposed tax hike on the average homeowner, with a property worth about $665,000, would be a tax of $3,020, amounting to an extra $104 a year – a tally that includes the city’s 0.5-per-cent infrastructure levy.

This year’s budget, the first of Mr. Tory’s second term as mayor, has been made more difficult as revenues from the city’s land-transfer tax on property sales sank for the first time, bringing in $727-million last year, about $80-million less than planned as a result of the shaky real-estate market. (The tax brought in more than $800-million at the market’s height in 2017.)

Left-leaning critics of Mr. Tory have long called for higher property-tax increases above inflation in order to better fund city programs and the Toronto Transit Commission. City Councillor Mike Layton said the TTC’s operating budget still has a $24-million hole that must be filled, likely with cuts. City officials also have included $10-million in as-yet unspecified cuts, likely to non-union management positions.

Mr. Tory 's spokesman, Don Peat, said the mayor met with Bill Blair, the Trudeau government’s Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, on Sunday and raised the need for more funding for the costs of refugee claimants. Mr. Peat said the mayor, who was meeting with other ministers and MPs on Monday, is optimistic the efforts will result in a fair deal for Toronto.

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For much of the past year, Mr. Tory has loudly complained that Toronto, and other cities, have been left covering ballooning costs for refugees that he argues are the clear responsibility of the federal government, not local property taxpayers.

Resolving the issue grew more complex last summer, when the new Ontario PC government of Doug Ford announced it was withdrawing all support for asylum seekers, insisting that Ottawa pick up the entire bill and sparking a political feud with Ottawa.

In a statement announcing the new $15-million in funding for Toronto last week, the federal government said it looked “forward to developing a cost-sharing agreement with Ontario to address the challenges that asylum claims and irregular migration present.”

Where your 2019 Toronto property

tax dollars would go

$703.21

Police Service

TTC (incl. Wheel Trans)

$521.29

Debt charges

$390.47

Fire Services

$325.12

Parks, Forestry & Recreation

$222.05

Toronto Community Housing

Corp. Subsidy

$166.35

Transportation Services

$154.04

Shelter, Support and Housing

$149.86

Toronto Public Library

$128.23

Toronto Employ./Social Services

$62.19

Children’s Services

$59.28

Toronto Paramedic Services

$58.59

Economic Development & Culture

$47.66

$31.67

Other

Total = $3,020*

Based on property tax of $3,020 (includes 2.55% proper-

ty tax rate increase and 0.5% building fund levy) for an

average house with an assessed value of $665,605

*Does not include Education taxes.

Property tax paid in 2018 for the average household was

$2,916.

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

sOURCE: city of toronto

Where your 2019 Toronto property

tax dollars would go

$703.21

Police Service

TTC (incl. Wheel Trans)

$521.29

Debt charges

$390.47

Fire Services

$325.12

Parks, Forestry & Recreation

$222.05

Toronto Community Housing

Corp. Subsidy

$166.35

Transportation Services

$154.04

Shelter, Support and Housing

$149.86

Toronto Public Library

$128.23

Toronto Employ./Social Services

$62.19

Children’s Services

$59.28

Toronto Paramedic Services

$58.59

Economic Development & Culture

$47.66

$31.67

Other

Total = $3,020*

Based on property tax of $3,020 (includes 2.55% property tax rate

increase and 0.5% building fund levy) for an average house with an

assessed value of $665,605

*Does not include Education taxes.

Property tax paid in 2018 for the average household was $2,916.

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

sOURCE: city of toronto

Where your 2019 Toronto property tax dollars would go

$703.21

Police Service

TTC (incl. Wheel Trans)

$521.29

Debt charges

$390.47

Fire Services

$325.12

Parks, Forestry & Recreation

$222.05

Toronto Community Housing

Corp. Subsidy

$166.35

Transportation Services

$154.04

Shelter, Support and Housing

$149.86

Toronto Public Library

$128.23

Toronto Employ./Social Services

$62.19

Children’s Services

$59.28

Toronto Paramedic Services

$58.59

Economic Development & Culture

$47.66

$31.67

Other

Total = $3,020*

Based on property tax of $3,020 (includes 2.55% property tax rate increase and 0.5% building

fund levy) for an average house with an assessed value of $665,605

*Does not include Education taxes.

Property tax paid in 2018 for the average household was $2,916.

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: city of toronto

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