May 21, 2019

Mayor Crombie’s Statement on the Province’s Savings Challenge

“Today we learned the Ontario government is challenging municipalities to find 4% in savings per year in their budget. In Mississauga, that is roughly $30 million. At the Region of Peel it’s $45 million.

I understand the province is working on getting its financial house in order, but asking municipalities, the level of government that has the least, to do more, is not the answer. The reality is cities are asked to do a lot with a little. Of every household tax dollar collected, only 9 cents goes to Mississauga, whereas 44 cents goes to the Ontario Government and 47 cents goes to the Federal Government. Our only sources of revenue is the property tax and some user fees.

The real savings the province is looking for are not going to be found in cities.

Nevertheless, each year, we challenge staff across the City to find savings and to go through their budgets line by line to ensure they are spending money wisely and on the right priorities. Finding savings and reviewing our processes has become our way of doing business – it’s baked into our corporate DNA. Over the last 11 years, Mississauga has found almost $60 million in savings and the Region of Peel has found over $55 million. This year alone, we are saving taxpayers $3.1 million through our Budget.

On nearly every indicator, our financial health is strong. For 15 straight years in a row, we’ve been awarded a Triple-A credit rating which gives businesses the confidence to invest in our City. We’ve done this while keeping taxes competitive and below the GTA average, and still maintaining front-line services for residents.

Mississauga has become the poster child for savings and has been recently awarded for our progress and commitment to finding savings and efficiencies. In fact, when I met with Premier Ford earlier this year, he commended our City’s commitment to savings and indicated that the province was also exploring implementing the LEAN methodology across the provincial government.

Mississauga delivers over 200 services to residents from public transit to libraries, to snow clearing and fire and emergency services, among many others. These are core, front-line services that residents have come to rely upon. At the same time, we must also build and maintain infrastructure like roads, bridges, bike paths, and much more. Our annual infrastructure gap – the amount we can afford to build versus what we need to build – is $260 million in 2019.

I need to learn more from the province about this program and have a discussion with Council before any decisions are made. I will note that the province’s savings challenge comes at a time when Mississauga could potentially be undergoing one of the largest transformations in our City’s 45 year history, as a result of the province’s review of regional governance.

I’m always open to finding new ways to save money for taxpayers, but they have to be smart and not jeopardize front-line services. We simply cannot cut our way to prosperity.”