TORONTO - Toronto city council has approved a $9.2 billion operating budget for 2010 that includes a residential property tax increase to 2.9 per cent.

Employment and social services eats up $1.35 billion to support an anticipated increase in the number of people requiring assistance as the economy recovers.

More than $950 million is earmarked for Toronto's police service of more than 5,500 officers.

About $378 million will go to provide child care spaces in more than 940 child care centres and 21 home child care agencies.

And about $360 million will pay to deliver Toronto's more than 60,000 recreation programs.

Coun. Shelley Carroll says the 2010 budget is balanced with modest user fees and a reasonable tax increase.

"This year's budget is the first step in a two-year operating budget plan to deliver the services that Toronto residents and businesses want and still remain affordable and competitive," Carroll said Thursday.

The approved budget includes some user fee increases.

In addition, to avoid service cuts that would severely disrupt or cancel programming, the budget introduces some new fees.

However, council voted not to implement a one-time sign-up fee of $25 for recreation program registration, which means that $788,000 will be drawn from the 2009 surplus to cover this user fee revenue reduction.