$72 million hole in Brampton budget every year if Peel dissolves: reports

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Published December 8, 2023 at 3:54 pm

Brampton City Hall

The city would have a $72 million gap in the budget year after year if the province doesn’t pull the plug on parcelling out Peel, according to new reports.

The new numbers come from a soon-to-be-released report leaked to CityNews and commissioned by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, which shows if the province goes through with its plan to break up Peel Region, the city would be left with an annual deficit – something municipalities aren’t legally allowed to have.

According to reports, it would take upwards of 70 years for the dissolution of Peel to have any financial gain for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

Brown made similar comments when speaking with Insauga.com publisher Khaled Iwamura on Friday, saying there’s no financial upside to the dissolution put forward in Ontario’s Hazel McCallion Act.

The mayor has said the break-up would cost at least $1.3 billion and come with a 38 per cent tax increase, while the new number reportedly put that tax hike at 34 per cent.

Brown said he’s encouraged by “rumours” that Premier Doug Ford is looking at scrapping the controversial plan to split the Region, saying “sanity is prevailing,” calling the split “a burden on families across Peel.”

While Brampton’s mayor is pushing back against the province, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has not backed down on her stance that the move will ultimately be a money saver for the three municipalities.

“Another week, another report with unverifiable numbers. Like the others, this one by KPMG has not been shared with or validated by the Transition Board, the City of Mississauga, the Region of Peel or the Town of Caledon. It’s the work of the Transition Board to determine the impacts of dissolution on all three cities. We can’t be negotiating such a big decision through the media,” Crombie said in a statement emailed to insauga.com. 

In her statement, Crombie said she can’t comment on reports she hasn’t seen, calling that “the bigger issue.”

“This is all smoke and mirrors, designed to create chaos and sow doubt. That’s why it’s important that the Transition Board continue to do its work, with all municipalities involved. I ask Mayor Brown to stop with the politics and allow his staff and ours to continue with the good work they’re doing. There’s legislation in place and a process well underway and that needs to continue,” she said. 

Crombie said Mississauga has been transparent about its finances with the transition board and she hopes Brown will follow suit.  She also said a city of Brampton’s size should be able to function independently. 

“As one of Ontario’s fastest growing cities, Brampton should be more than capable of standing on their own two feet just like the other 170 municipalities of all sizes across Ontario, including London, Kingston, Windsor and Dryden,” she said. 

“If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that Mayor Brown needs to get his financial house in order. It’s the only reason I can think of as to why he’s crying wolf and why he wants to keep the Region of Peel intact. I think he’s afraid that opening his books might reveal a much bigger financial problem for the residents and taxpayers of Brampton. Mississauga has been subsidizing the Region of Peel at over 60% for 50 years now.”

Crombie said she wants to reach a deal that works for all taxpayers and allow the dissolution process, as committed to by the province, to continue as planned.

“No one wants to see taxes in any of our cities skyrocket as a result of dissolution. We can achieve a good deal for everyone, if we just let the process continue.“

The Mississauga mayor will be stepping down next year now that she has won the Ontario Liberal Leadership, and with an upcoming position in provincial politics, Brown has said Crombie should “fight for everyone in Ontario.”

Crombie succeeded the late McCallion, who long championed Mississauga breaking out on its own from the Region, which was formed in 1974. Premier Ford reportedly promised McCallion prior to her passing that he would go through with the break-up, which could be at risk of being walked back.

Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra said on Wednesday he had not made any decisions on the break up of Peel Region but called the dissolution “potential.”

The province has appointed a transition board to oversee the dissolution but no findings have been publicly reported.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a new statement from Mayor Crombie. 

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