Mayor Bonnie Crombie Upset About Additional Provincial Cutbacks

 

The provincial government has recent cutbacks some of the Peel Regions funding.

The recent cuts to the region’s funding were presented yesterday to the council. Funding sections that were cut included:

  • Early years/childcare programs by $6.1M
  • Housing and homeless programs by $1.3M
  • Prisoner Transport by $600,000
  • Natural Hazards Funding by $700,000
  • Metrolinx Funding for Smart Commute by $300,000

These are very important sectors for the region and funding cuts may have some negative impacts going forward.

In an email to InSauga, Mayor Bonnie Crombie wrote, “while unpopular, should the government choose not to reverse their decision, Council will be forced to explore raising taxes or cutting some services to help make up the difference.”

The Region of Peel gets revenue from commercial and residential property tax, which they use to pay for building and maintaining infrastructure. It also funds services for residents. The property tax is not used to fund programs such as health care and child care, which is why the province has picked up almost the full bill.

Of every tax dollar collected, cities get 9 cents, the province gets 44 cents and the federal government gets 47 cents.

“We are simply asking that the province not balance its budget on the backs of cities,” writes Crombie.

The mayor states, “staff at the Region of Peel anticipate that the revenue shortfall will be approximately $38.1 million in 2020. We are currently examining how to bridge the gap today and budget accordingly in the years to come.”

The mayor has been vocal about her disagreements with the Ford government in the past. Many of the big city mayors have also urged the province to consult with regions and municipalities before making such big decisions.

“Like many other Mayors across the province, I was made aware of these funding cuts and reductions in cost-sharing agreements through a mixture of media reports and notifications from City and Regional staff. The funding cuts will impact a range of services and programming including vaccinations, long-term care, policing, paramedics and early years and childcare to name a few,” wrote Mayor Crombie.

Mayor Crombie has also stated that she is willing to work with the provincial government, “but asking already strapped municipalities to take on more, without consultation, and retroactively apply the funding changes arbitrarily, is not fair.”

Similarly, Mayor Patrick Brown said in a written statement that the presentation of these cuts was “shocking”.

“The provincial cuts mean municipalities have an impossible choice,” wrote Mayor Brown. “Do we pass on a record tax increase to homeowners to make up for provincial cuts or do we cancel essential services like Peel Regional Police’s prisoner transport, child care or combating homelessness?”

Mayor Brown was quite reasonably not happy with the position the cuts are putting the region in. In his statement, he highlighted an example of one of the challenges the region may face going forward.

“A great example is the provincial cut to the Peel Regional Police prisoner transport,” wrote Mayor Brown. “If we passed on the cut to the police then that means for a month, we would not transfer prisoners from the jail to the court or from the court to the correctional facility. It would essentially mean cases would be thrown out and criminals would get off.

Someone down at Queens Park needs to give their head a shake. This is ridiculous.”

The next step in planning for the 2020 budget is the impacts of the Provincial budget on service outcomes including risks to services and service levels.

What do you think of the recent cuts to the region’s budget?

Photo courtesy of City of Mississauga.

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