Mississauga looking at new revenue tools to fund infrastructure

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Mississauga is looking for new revenue tools to fund infrastructure projects across the city.

Council endorsed a motion to review five potential tools that were included in a staff report at the next budget committee meeting in October 2021.

Staff engaged Ernst & Young to research a number of potential revenue tools not currently available to the City of Mississauga to identify their value and potential benefit. Many of these tools would require amendments to the Municipal Act.

“We have completed an introductory study of revenue tools that are beyond what is currently available to us as a lower-tier municipality. These tools are more linked to economic growth,” said Jeff Jackson, Director of Finance and Treasurer. “Many steps including changes to provincial legislation would be needed for these tools to be used.”

The tools to be reviewed at the next Budget Committee Meeting include:

  • Vacant Home tax
  • Incremental property tax
  • Landfill levy
  • Land value capture/tax increment financing
  • Encroachment tax

Budget Engagement

Public engagement on the budget will begin in September.

“Currently, Mississauga and many other Ontario municipalities are limited to collecting property tax revenues and user fees such as transit fares and recreation program fees. We are doing our research and looking at new tools to see what may be a good fit for Mississauga,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Under the current legislative framework, municipalities do not have the financial ability to maintain, rehabilitate and expand infrastructure, while keeping tax increases at inflationary levels.

“We are studying this gap and what tools would best manage it. Mississauga is also encouraging the Government of Ontario, to work with municipalities to develop new revenue tools that will allow them to deliver services and improve the quality of life for residents while keeping property taxes affordable,” Crombie said.

“The need for a change has never been as great. We have been advocating for this for many years, and will continue to do so until change happens.”

Mississauga currently uses the following revenue tools:

  • property taxes
  • payment in lieu of taxes
  • user fees and charges/local improvement charges
  • fines and penalties
  • development charges (subject to provincial legislation)
  • incremental property tax (capital infrastructure levy/public safety levy)
  • ride sharing fees
  • landfill levy (Region of Peel)

“We are looking outside traditional methods for our Infrastructure needs. Our current revenue tools do not allow us to address our aging roads, buildings and bridges. A look at new revenue tools is a logical next step for us to consider,” said Paul Mitcham, city manager and CAO.

“A study of new tools is a worthwhile exercise to ensure we have the ability to care and maintain the infrastructure our residents and businesses depend on each day. We will also continue to advocate for federal and provincial assistance to help meet these needs that cannot be ignored or deferred.”

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