Toronto’s fiscal plan is “not going to make everybody happy,” budget chief Mike Del Grande said as the public hearing on it concluded Tuesday afternoon.

The city’s budget committee heard from over 200 members of the public during the hearing on next year’s $9.42-billion budget.

The city is considering a 1.95 per cent property tax hike, which would bring in $33 million, and a second tax increase – a 0.65 per-cent non-residential tax – that would bring in an additional $13 million.

Click here to read the budget plan.

After the public hearings finished, Coun. Janet Davis commented that “not one person said, ‘Cut my taxes.”

“When are we going to listen to the people who say, ‘I want a great city and I’m prepared to pay more.’”

Davis said that last year, a city-sponsored survey found that more than half of respondents said they were prepared to pay 5 per cent more in property taxes to avoid cuts.

“I don’t buy the argument that people are willing to pay more,” Del Grande countered.

The city heard from dozens of people on Tuesday, including Emma Saltmarche, who called for the city to reverse proposed cuts to affordable housing.

Her father, she said, was in the city’s shelter system when he was diagnosed with cancer. His terminal illness made him a priority for housing, but he died before he ever found a home.

Quentin Vercetty, who runs an alternative education program for youth in the Jane-Finch and Malvern neighbourhoods, called for more funding for the Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP).  Vercetty, who said his activism comes from art, ended his speech with a spoken-word plea for aid, asking councillors to put themselves in his shoes.

Opal Sparks also asked for an increase to CPIP funding, just enough to keep up with inflation.

She said the money “mobilizes volunteers and provides jobs” in trouble communities.

Susan Gapka, the last speaker, asked that the city invest the money from the sale of Enwave in repairs to community housing.

Councillors then gave their thoughts on the budget, all of them thanking the deputants who came to city hall.

Sarah Doucette urged the committee to save lawn bowling facilities, while Gord Perks said that using cash to pay for services is “not sound.”

“Some cuts aren’t savings,” he argued, pointing to meal programs at public parks.  

Adam Vaughan criticized the city’s capital plan to spend money repairing the Gardiner Expressway but not on community housing.

“It blows my mind that when it comes to fixing the Gardiner, half a billion materializes over night, but we have to sell TCHC [Toronto Community Housing Corp.] properties,” he said.

“We have to run the city like a business,” Doug Ford said.

He praised Del Grande for doing an “incredible” job to reduce the city’s debt over the past two years.

At a meeting on Monday night, the Toronto Police Services Board agreed to freeze the police budget, the largest in the city at $927.8 million.

After the board meeting, Chief Bill Blair warned that there could be fewer officers on the streets.

“There’s obviously an impact, but we’ll do everything we can to minimize that impact and continue to provide all the services we’re able to provide to the city,” Blair said Monday.

The budget committee is also debating proposed cuts to fire services staff, which could save just over $6 million, and saving $.45 million by scrapping the TTC’s Wheel-Trans service for ambulatory dialysis patients.

The proposed capital budget would include up to $500 million in new spending, with $25 million earmarked next year for repairing the Gardiner Expressway.