Budget committee tackles COVID challenges, revenue streams in 2022 outlook

Pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to play havoc with city revenues, councillors in Mississauga heard Monday during a budget committee meeting. City staff said in a presentation that it is projecting a $57 million deficit due to the continued impact of the pandemic — and while federal and provincial funding will cover the deficit, the city will continue to face challenges as it looks towards 2022.

“We are keeping a close eye on our financial picture and we will continue advocating to other levels of government for our share of funding as a large Canadian municipality serving the daily needs of residents and businesses.

As we heard today, fuel and materiel costs are rising while our revenues remain the same or are declining,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Under the current legislative framework, municipalities do not have the financial ability to maintain, rehabilitate and expand infrastructure keep tax and increases at inflationary levels.

As a council, we are watching the city’s financial picture carefully and doing our homework to understand how we can best fund our projects moving ahead.” While recreation revenues are expected to improve as facilities reopen, a loss of transit ridership and associated costs continue to play the biggest impact on city finances, said city treasurer Jeff Jackson during his presentation. A 1.5 per cent tax hike for Mississauga property owners has been forecast, in line with projections made earlier in the year, while the city’s budget is projected to increase by 4.2 per cent before Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) is factored in.

“We will continue to advocate for funding from other levels of government since the financial impact of COVID-19 is not over… staff have done a great job of mitigating costs and offsetting revenue impacts as we continue to look at where we can reduce the deficit. It has been an exercise in good financial planning, and we will see the benefits both now and, in the years, to come,” said city manager Paul Mitcham. City staff also said Wednesday that new revenue tools, including an incremental property tax, landfill levy or a land transfer tax, could be considered as ways to fund the city’s infrastructure needs — with councillors voting to review the measures at the next Budget Committee meeting in October.

 “We are doing our research and looking at new tools to see what a good fit for Mississauga may be,” Crombie said Wednesday. “Under the current legislative framework, municipalities do not have the financial ability to maintain, rehabilitate and exp a n d infrastructure, while keeping tax increases at inflationary levels…. we are studying this gap and what tools would best manage it.”

Residents can learn more about the city budget by visiting mississauga.ca/budget.

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Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora

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