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Toronto City Hall viewed from Nathan Phillips Square
Toronto City Hall viewed from Nathan Phillips Square

Main article: Municipal Government of Toronto
Further information: Politics of Toronto and Public services in Toronto

Toronto is a single-tier municipality governed by a mayor-council system. The structure of the municipal government is stipulated by the City of Toronto Act. The Mayor of Toronto is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city. The Toronto City Council is a unicameral legislative body, comprising 44 councillors representing geographical wards throughout the city. The mayor and members of the city council serve four-year terms without term limits. (Prior to the 2006 municipal election, the mayor and city councillors served three-year terms.)

At the start of the 2007 term, the city council will have seven standing committees, each consisting of a chair, a vice-chair and four other councillors. The Mayor names the committee chairs and the remaining membership of the committees is appointed by City Council. An executive committee is formed by the chairs of each of standing committee, in addition to the mayor, the deputy mayor and four other councillors. Councillors are also appointed to oversee the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Police Services Board.

There are about 40 subcommittees, advisory committees and round tables within the city council. These bodies are made up of city councillors and private citizen volunteers. Examples include the Pedestrian Committee, Waste Diversion Task Force 2010, and the Task Force to Bring Back the Don. Additionally, the city has four community councils that make recommendations on local matters to the city council, but possess no final authority. Each city councillor serves as a member on a community council.

Toronto had an operating budget of C$7.6 billion in 2006. The city receives funding from the Government of Ontario in addition to tax revenues and user fees, spending 36% on provincially-mandated programs, 53% on major municipal purposes such as the Toronto Public Library and the Toronto Zoo, and 11% on capital financing and non-program expenditures.

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