Tax hike warning a ‘desperate attempt’ to stop Peel split by Brampton Mayor Brown, says Mississauga’s Bonnie Crombie

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Published December 5, 2023 at 3:07 pm

region peel split dissolution
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown (left) and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie have differing opinions on the Region of Peel split.

Newly-crowned Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie says Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s concerns around a 38 per cent tax hike are a “desperate attempt” to derail the dissolution of Peel Region.

Crombie and Brown have butted heads over the province’s decision to split the Region in 2025, with Brampton’s mayor saying last week that the breakup would lead to a one-time tax increase of 38 per cent and cost over $1 billion.

Brown again raised the alarm on Tuesday along with a union representing paramedics in Peel, warning of a “mass exodus” of first responders due to job insecurity among an already short-staffed roster of paramedics.

Crombie, who is stepping down as mayor of Mississauga, reaffirmed her support of the split and fired back at Brown at a press conference calling his concerns a distraction.

“I’m not sure why Mayor Brown is trying to distract from the work…it seems to be a desperate attempt to derail a process that is well in hand,” Crombie said while speaking with reporters on Tuesday.

Crombie said that while she and Premier Doug Ford don’t see eye to eye on many issues, they do both agree on the dissolution of Peel.

“There are 170 single-tier municipalities in the province of Ontario – there’s no reason why the fourth-largest city and the third-largest city need to be coupled together,” she said.

Brown has called the dissolution plan a “financial train wreck,” saying the city never wanted the split.

Caledon Mayor Annette Groves has made similar comments and on Tuesday said it would “be encouraging if the province rethought the dissolution of Peel Region.”

“At this time there are too many unknown costs to fully understand the true impact to taxpayers if Peel dissolves,” Groves said in a post on social media.

And while Crombie acknowledged that Caledon will require “special consideration” when it comes to shared services between the three municipalities, she says Brampton is fully capable of standing “on its own two feet,” pointing to Brown freezing taxes during his first term as mayor.

“I’ve witnessed Brampton freeze taxes…so they are very well able to stand on their own two feet, and I know they wouldn’t do it at the expense of (Brown’s) reserves or (Brown’s) capital budget,” Crombie said, adding she believes each municipality will be dealt with “equitably, and fairly.”

“I’m very confident this process should go forward and will go forward because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

The move to split the Region came under the Hazel McCallion Act, named after the late Mississauga mayor who championed that city striking out on its own.

The split is expected to take effect in January 2025 but has led to questions about what will happen to shared Regional services like water treatment, waste disposal, policing and paramedics.

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