Mississauga Mayor Warns of Property Tax Hike Due to New Ontario Housing Bill

Mississauga homeowners could see their property taxes increase as a result of a recently passed provincial housing bill, Mayor Bonnie Crombie warned Wednesday.

At a news conference, Crombie said Bill 23, or the More Quickly Built Homes Act, “will be a big hit to your wallet,” noting that the average property tax could increase by five or 10 percent or about $300 to $600.

The legislation reduces and waives the fees developers pay to build affordable housing, nonprofit housing, and inclusionary zoning units. While waiving the fees could encourage more homes to be built, Crombie argued that nothing in the legislation guarantees they won’t be passed on to homeowners.

“Under Bill 23, property taxpayers will fund developers’ profits. While we can agree and certainly appreciate the province’s desire to incentivize affordability, it cannot be done at the expense of cities and our taxpayers,” Crombie said.

“None of this is fair to our property taxpayers or our residents.”

He indicated that property taxes could rise further as Peel Region is likely to implement an increase that is “equal to or greater than what we are facing here in the city,” meaning a household may see a total increase average between $600 and $1,200.

Crombie said the city of Mississauga could lose up to $885 million over 10 years in development charges due to the housing law.

“That’s the equivalent of losing 20 percent of our capital budget. The figures are devastating. And they are puzzling and deeply concerning,” Crombie said.

Municipalities have sounded the alarm about the implications of Bill 23 on their finances. The Association of Ontario Municipalities said the legislation could leave its members without $5 billion. On Wednesday, Toronto Mayor John Tory warned that if the Ontario government does not come up with a plan to help municipalities cover the shortfall caused by the legislation, “we will step up our campaign against this legislation.”

Meanwhile, Steve Clark, Ontario’s minister for housing and municipal affairs, wrote a letter to Tory saying that “the city of Toronto is sound when it comes to the impact” of Bill 23. He also announced Wednesday that the province would launch a third bill. party audit of city finances to determine if Toronto will suffer a revenue shortfall due to the housing law.

While Clark has not indicated whether other municipalities will undergo the same audit, Crombie said he would like the province to do so. He pointed out that it is not true that municipalities are sitting on large amounts of reserves.

“I would welcome the opportunity to correct the record and monitor the province through our numbers. We are fiscally responsible in Mississauga. I would also welcome a similar commitment that Mississauga be compensated for any losses from Bill 23,” Crombie said.

“We want to work with the province to achieve our shared goal of addressing affordability and building more housing. We just have to be on the same page about how to get there.”

In addition to the impacts of Assembly Bill 23, Crombie said Mississauga also faces a $52 million shortfall in 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is going to be a very challenging year, in which we will have to consider reducing services or programming or delaying our capital expenditures, delaying our capital budget and our capital plans,” he said.

– with archives from The Canadian Press and Joshua Freeman of CP24

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