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Toronto councillors’ expense reports for 2014 have been released
March 18, 2015
By Marco Chown

Toronto property taxes paid for a bullhorn, a bouncy castle, expensive Apple electronics and even 180 tonnes of compost last year.

When city councillors released their 2014 constituency and office expenses Friday, Anthony Perruzza (Ward 8, York West) was revealed as the city’s top spender, with $28,960.31. That brought him in just under the maximum allowable, reduced from $50,000 to just over $30,000 under the Ford administration. He did not return requests for comment.

Perruzza was followed closely by Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport) and Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s), who spent $28,187.99 and $28,051.69 respectively.

“I challenge anyone, anyone, to find one single expenditure that is not spent on serving the residents of Ward 17,” Palacio told the Star, saying he spent a large portion of his budget on flyers to communicate with constituents, as well as for community activities.

“I’m very proud of what I do, I serve my community well, and that’s the reason that city council approves that amount.”

Mihevc said the bulk of his spending goes toward community events and promotional material. He mentioned, among other things, flyers about Environment Day and funds to organize park cleanup days and movie nights.

“It is some of the best money that I feel we’ve spent, all to keep our citizens engaged and active, and working in their neighbourhoods,” he told the Star. “I take pride in being active to the point of using that $30,000 for community purposes.”

The most frugal councillor was Doug Ford (formerly Ward 2, Etobicoke North), who was not reimbursed for the $57.14 he paid out of his own pocket. Those who ran more traditional budgets, but still kept spending to a minimum, were Gloria Lindsay Luby (formerly Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre), at $10,957.63; and Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston), at $11,031.51.

This year’s calculations were complicated by the October election, when several wards changed hands, and the fact the mayor’s office was occupied for much of the year by deputy mayor Norm Kelly and new mayor John Tory.

Councillors are obliged to file receipts along with all office expenses, and everything is posted on the city’s website, allowing anyone to peruse their spending line by line.

Deep down in some councillors’ expense reports are some interesting items, including: