Peel Region set to debate final budget ahead of Mississauga-Brampton split


Published November 15, 2023 at 8:30 pm

Peel Region is set to debate what will be its final budget ahead of the regional government’s impending demise.

Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga were united into Peel Region back in 1974. However, the cities have long chafed under the Regional system and have tried to strike out on their own several times over the years.

Mississauga and Brampton are respectively Ontario’s third and fourth most populous cities. Canada-wide they rank seventh and ninth. Both have considerably larger populations than single-tier cities like Hamilton, London and Windsor.

The cities got this wish earlier this year when the Ontario government announced the Hazel McCallion Act, which would see the Peel Region divorce by Jan 1, 2025. The late, longtime Mayor McCallion long called for Mississauga to strike out on its own.

Since the McCallion Act’s passage in June, a provincially appointed five-member committee has been taking stock of Peel’s finances to ensure an equitable split. However, the divorce has been acrimonious at times.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has called for his city to be “made whole” for supporting Mississauga’s growth over the last 40 years. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie (now on leave to run for Ontario Liberal Leader), pushed back on Brown’s claim, saying her city funded its own growth through development fees.

Since the split’s announcement both cities have said the divorce needs to be done as quickly as possible, leaving some concerned about service gaps. This has prompted both cities and the Region to assure residents, “There will be no disruption in service.”

“There are many, many other single-tier cities who deliver all of these services. So, while getting there might be challenging just given the size and scale of the organizations involved, it’s certainly doable,” said Mississauga City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer Shari Lichterman, “I’m very confident that if Windsor and Kingston and Sudbury etc. can deliver all of these services, so can Mississauga and Brampton, and even Caledon, which is going to grow rapidly over the next decade or so.”

Both cities and Caledon have set up their own transition boards to oversee the split.

However, while the cities work on ways to take on the service load themselves, the Region still needs the cash to do it for another year. The deliberations as to what that last budget will look like begin on Nov. 16.

After an initial meeting at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, one of the Region’s costliest services, Peel Regional Police, will make a presentation. Next, on Nov. 23, Regional council will hear from more services including; Housing Support, Water and Wastewater, Transportation, Paramedics, Seniors Services, Public Health, Community Investment, Waste Management, and Early Years and Child Care.

Finally, on Nov. 30, the Region will hear from external organizations they help fund including Credit Valley Conservation, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. All these meetings will be public and live-streamed online.

The Region already has a proposed 2024 budget which is set to include a 10.6 per cent net tax levy increase and a 4.5 per cent property tax increase. This is set to fund $3.4 billion in operating costs and $2.5 billion in capital costs. On average this will look like a $247 increase on the property tax bill and a $78 jump on the utility bill.



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