Toronto councillors passed the hefty increase by a vote of 27-13. It will raise a typical household's annual water bill about $47, to $567. And in a 24-11 vote, council also approved a 2009 solid waste budget that shifts the cost of garbage collection from the property tax bill to a user-fee system.
Councillors who opposed the water price increase complained that the combined effect of the water hike with expected tax increases, a new tax on cars and new fees for garbage disposal will saddle a typical Toronto homeowner with a tax boost equivalent to more than 10 per cent of the average property tax bill in 2009.
"This council doesn't have the mandate for a double-digit tax increase," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East).
Mayor David Miller argued that the water increase is needed to rebuild the city's aging sewers and water pipes and help prevent basement flooding in wide areas of the city.
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