At today’s Budget Committee meeting, City staff reported on a year-end financial position for 2021, the budget outlook for 2022 and challenges the City continues to face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Council reviewed staff reports on the Development Charges Background Study, Community Benefits Charge, Parkland Conveyance By-law and Parks Plan Update to address legislative changes and additional tools for growth-related capital costs.
“We are keeping a close eye on our financial picture and we will continue advocating to other levels of government for our share of funding as a large Canadian municipality serving the daily needs of residents and businesses. As we heard today, fuel and materiel costs are rising while our revenues remain the same or are declining,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Under the current legislative framework, municipalities do not have the financial ability to maintain, rehabilitate and expand infrastructure and keep tax increases at inflationary levels. As a Council, we are watching the City’s financial picture carefully and doing our homework to understand how we can best fund our projects moving ahead.”
The City is projecting a 2021 deficit of $57 million due to the continued impacts of COVID-19, which is consistent with predictions from earlier this year. The Federal and Provincial Safe Restart funding is projected to cover this deficit.
“We will continue to advocate for funding from other levels of government since the financial impact of COVID-19 is not over. We have discussions planned with the provincial governments and the airport on the reduction in the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT),” said Paul Mitcham, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “We are taking our own steps across the corporation. Staff has done a great job of mitigating costs and offsetting revenue impacts as we continue to look at where we can reduce the deficit. It has been an exercise in good financial planning and we will see the benefits both now and in the years to come.”
The current operating budget forecast before the PILT is a 4.2 per cent budget increase with a tax rate impact of 1.5 per cent on the City portion of the property tax bill.
“The projections earlier this year have proven to be sound and consistent with numbers in this quarter. Loss of transit ridership, related costs and savings continue to be the highest driver of the COVID-19 impact on City finances. Recreation revenues, our second highest driver, are expected to improve as we reopen facilities and restart programs,” said Jeff Jackson, Director of Finance and City Treasurer. “The Federal and Provincial Safe Restart funding has helped reduce the deficit. It is important to note that this federal and provincial funding comes with terms and specific times it can be used.”
2022 Development Charges Background Study and Community Benefits Charge Update
Staff provided an update on the 2022 Development Charges (DC) Background Study and Community Benefits Charge (CBC) Strategy currently underway. Recent legislative changes to the Development Charges Act and Planning Act require the City to update its DC by-law and develop a strategy and by-law for the newly introduced CBC.
“DCs are fees the City collects to help pay for infrastructure and services needed to support new development and growth,” said Jackson. “The CBC is a new tool cities can use to fund additional growth-related capital costs not already covered by DCs. As part of the work to date, staff reviewed and defined categories for the types of projects that may qualify for CBC funding.”
At Budget Committee, Council endorsed the list of DC eligible projects which will be used as input into the 2022 Development Charges Background Study and a prioritization matrix for CBC funding. Priority for CBC funding will be given to public realm projects, amenities, public art and culture, urban parks and active transportation.
Staff are planning to release the draft DC Background Study and CBC Strategy this fall for public and stakeholder feedback. The new DC and CBC by-laws are expected to come before Council in early 2022.
Parkland Conveyance By-law and Parks Plan Update
The City’s Parkland Conveyance By-law is being updated based on development in Mississauga and recent legislative changes to the Planning Act. The new by-law is expected to come before Council in early 2022. To support the by-law, a Parks Plan is being drafted to review Mississauga’s city-wide parkland needs. Stakeholder consultation will be undertaken and included in the plan that is expected to come before Council by late 2021.
Public engagement on the budget will begin in September. Learn more about the City’s Budget and Business Plan at mississauga.ca/budget.