What Does the City of Mississauga Spend its Money On?

When residents hear about potential property tax hikes, some react with anger (who is overspending and therefore asking for more of my money?) and concern (will I be able to continue living here?).

Few people think about where, exactly, the city’s money goes.

In Mississauga’s case, the financial story has changed significantly because the municipality has grown from a sprawling but sleepy bedroom community to a semi-urban space that’s welcoming immense development (the LRT, mega condo communities such as M City, the Lakeview and Port Credit development projects, etc.). The city has grown—and so, too, have its expenses.

To give residents a transparent breakdown of the municipality’s revenues and expenses, the city released it 2016 Annual Report Highlights—a highly visual look at Mississauga’s financial health.

According to the document, the city boasts 768,000 residents in 72,200 acres of space. Its government consists one one mayor and 11 councillors and it’s home to 72 Fortune 500 companies.

It has issued $1.3 billion in construction permits and currently boasts $8 billion in capital assets.

In terms of expenses, the city generated $885,891 million last year (compared to $993,112 in 2015) in revenue. As far as expenses go, it spent $826,598 million (up from $773,560 million in 2015). According to the city, taxation revenues (meaning money from property and other taxes) in 2016 were $470.6 million (up from $446.6 million in 2015).

So, what is the city spending its money on?

  • Maintaining $4.2 billion worth of roads and bridges (which includes 5,200 km of road and 500 km bike lanes)
  • 82 MiWay transit routes
  • 263 playgrounds
  • Maintaining 27,000 city-owned trees
  • 18 libraries
  • 432 public computers
  • 17,797 cultural artifacts (including public art pieces and performances and productions)
  • 9,575 fire safety inspections
  • Enforcing over 30 bylaws
  • 11 community centres
  • 95 free Wi-Fi sites
  • Diverting 121.6 additional tonnes of waste from the landfill
  • 12 community gardens
  • 48,000 street lights converted to LED

As far as debt goes, the city says it “uses debt very conservatively.”

In 2016, the City issued $37.6 million of debt to help fund capital investments that safeguard our infrastructure, bringing the City’s total debt balance to $134.4 million at year end. This level of debt is substantially below the debt capacity limits for municipalities specified in provincial regulation,” the report reads.

The city also has $327.3 million in reserve funds.

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the city generates revenue in a city with growing infrastructure projects (and it doesn’t look an HST hike is in the cards). Unlike Toronto, Mississauga can’t propose public road tolls, so we’ll have to see how the city adjusts to growth—and accumulating expenses—going forward.

For more info on city finances, click here.

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