Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on February 06, 2017
Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on February 06, 2017, at the Council Chambers City Hall.
Thomas S. Saras
Mohammad-B agher Samimi
Martin Van Deuzen
Giuseppe Di Tacchio
Mark J. Goldyn
Pet G. Cleto
Enzo Di Mauro
Raffi Der Boghossian
A, Rajj Arasarathran
Martin Van Denzen
Margaret P. Bonikaska, Dr.
Mohammad Tajdolati, Dr.
Shahidul Islam MIW TV- Bengali Times
Ahmed Shah Hotaki
1. Welcome Remarks by the chair.
2. Minutes of the previous meeting
3. Report of the President/Discussions
4. Presentation and Ethnic Roundtable with Toronto Mayor John Tory, Councillor Gary Crawford and Executive Director Financial Planning, City of Toronto Josie LaVita on the City Budget 2017
5. New Members
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mr. Thomas Saras chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open. Dr. Tajdolati moved a motion to approve the agenda. Jonathan Annobil seconded it. The motion was carried
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Ricky Castellvi moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting Dr. Tajdolati seconded it. The motion was carried.
• President Thomas Saras reminded the members to renew their membership this year in order to enjoy the benefits and privileges of being a member of NEPMCC. He expressed disappointed that only a portion of members have renewed their membership.
• President Thomas Saras informed the members that the first phase of the digital publishing platform has begun from January 2017 and the first phase with 120 websites will be completed by March 2018. He mentioned that the company responsible for the implementation of the Digital Publishing Platform would update 5 websites every month and as a result 60 websites can be migrated every year to the Digital Publishing Platform. He mentioned that the project has been tentatively approved by the Federal Government. With the proposed digital publishing platform, NEPMCC members will be able to publish their content digitally so that it can be consumed by the readers anywhere in the world using their computers and cell phones. This will save the members from maintaining expensive Information Technology (IT) infrastructures that they cannot afford. There were lot of discussions on this project and the President categorically answered all questions on this project posed by the members. He requested members to take advantage of this opportunity and be part of this historic project since there were limited spaces available for enrollment in the first year. Mr. Saras explained that later this year he will organize a two days conference for the members in order to be trained and better informed about the project.
• President Thomas Saras suggested to form a committee to coordinate the task with the company responsible for implementing the digital publishing platform project for NEPMCC. The proposed members would be Dr.Tajdolati, Yuri Natchetoi, Eugenia E. Bakchinow, Maria Saras Voustinas, Ricky Castellvi, Neel Nanda and Nitu Dahiya. Eugenia E. Backchinow and Yuri Natchnetoi, made a brief presentation on the update of the digital publishing platform, as both of them are fully educated on the project.
• President Thomas Saras mentioned that NEPMCC will hold its general elections in the next monthly meeting. Members interested in running for office should indicate their interest to the office of ombudsman Dr. Tajdolati. Only members in good standing and record of good attendance for the past 2 years would be eligible to run for any office.
• Motion : Mr. Luc Marchand, former director with Heritage Canada has been supportive of the ethnic media so the government programs benefits the majority of the stakeholders in ethnic media industry. There was suggestion to make him the Honorary Member of the NEPMCC. Dr. Tajdolati moved a moton and Raffi Boghossian seconded it. The motion was carried.
• President Thomas Saras suggested that celebrating the freedom of press week in May could be held either at the rotunda of City Hall or at the Queens Park. He will update members later on the availability of either of the venue.
Presentation and Ethnic Roundtable with Toronto Mayor John Tory, Councillor Gary Crawford and Executive Director Financial Planning, City of Toronto Josie LaVita on the City Budget 2017
Some of the highlights of the presentation were as follows
“Every service we provide is important, “said Mayor Tory. “ But with this budget, we are making sure every dollar we spend is spent wisely and in the best interest of the people of Toronto. The 2017 budget is about running this government more effectively and efficiently, keeping the city affordable for residents and investing in services that matter for Torontonians like transit and community programs.”
City council directed all City divisions, agencies and corporations to look carefully at their budgets to see how the city can run government more efficiently. It produced great insights and tens of millions of dollars in savings and efficiencies.
By finding these savings, the City is keeping Toronto affordable for residents and investing in priorities. Highlights include:
* Keeping property taxes below the rate of inflation.
* Spending $80 million more on the TTC to get Toronto moving
* Buying 800 new buses.
* Continuing work on the subway extension to York University, SmartTrack, the Scarborough subway extension
* Investing $185 million in the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy to make Toronto more affordable for low-income residents
* Investing over $55 million in community grants to support recreation and art programs, festivals and special events.
The City of Toronto’s Budget Committee began the budget process in December. The budget will be reviewed, debated and approved at City Council on February 15 and 16. More information about the City’s budget and the budget process is available at Toronto.ca/budget2017.
The single biggest cheque most families write each year is for their property taxes.
I was elected on a mandate to keep property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation.
And as much as some councillors will say their residents are begging to pay more taxes, the majority of Torontonians voted for candidates who called for strict discipline on property tax hikes.
Next week, the 2017 budget goes to city council for final approval.
I am proud to tell you that the budget will continue to deliver on my campaign pledge and that is year’s tax increase will be below the rate of inflation.
We’ve been able to keep taxes for the last three years thanks to the hard work of budget Chief Gary Crawford and his budget committee. The councillors on this important committee have been able to find millions of dollars in savings and free up money to put towards services that Toronto residents need.
Some of the highlights of this year’s budget include our transit spending. We’re spending $80 million more on the TTC to get Toronto moving. We’re buying 800 new buses. And we’ll continue work on the subway extension to York University, SmartTrack, and the Scarborough Subway Extension. We’re investing over $55 million in community grants to support recreation and art programs, festivals and special events. And we’re increasing library hours.
I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in this year’s budget.
Now I am sure you’ve heard some critics of the budget make some outrageous claims about this year’s process. They’ve spread their doom and gloom over the last few weeks. They’ve claimed we’re slashing city services. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just like a family, we are saving money by evaluating our spending and making the tough but needed choices that will keep us living within our means.
We have found savings by going line-by-line through some of the city’s biggest budgets including the TTC and Toronto Police.
Following the presentations, many members raised questions to the delegation of City Hall and participated in the roundtable discussions.
Following the roundtable discussions – Mayor John Tory was available for pictures and one on one session with members.
President Thomas Saras thanked the Mayor and his team to make the presentation ahead of the City Budget.
New Members/ New Business. The chair asked if there are any further business for discussion. Having received a negative answer Mr. Saras suggested that this meeting should be declared concluded and asked for one member to bring to the floor a motion.
Adjournment: Dr.Tajdolati moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Mila Garcia seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair, President Thomas Saras adjourned the meeting at 9 pm. The next monthly meeting would take place on Monday, March 13, 2017 at the council chambers, City Hall.