Property Taxes Conceptually

1. Introduction

We know that life everywhere, and specifically in Mississauga, has gotten much more expensive in recent years. With the high rate of inflation, even a status quo City budget creates a big property tax increase. We campaigned on the issue of ‘Fair Taxes’ and the issue continues to grow in importance. With that in mind, we wanted to share information on where your taxes go, how we are managing the challenges, a bit about calculations that can increase your taxes payable from one bill to the next and where we go from here.

Mississauga Fire Truck
Taxes pay for capital assets like trucks and operating expenses such as firefighters.

2. Where Your Taxes Go

Your overall property taxes are split between the City of Mississauga, the Region of Peel and either the public or separate school board. The City portion of your property taxes is 36% of your overall bill. So, the City’s increased costs (budget) for 2023 raised your overall tax bill by 3%.

Taxes pay for both operating items such as police officers and capital projects such as new bridges.

City of Mississauga property taxes pay for services such as:

  • road maintenance
  • public transit
  • firefighting
  • snow clearing
  • parks
  • community centres
  • recreation programs
  • libraries

and many more.

Mississauga 2023 Budget Highlights
Click Image to Enlarge

3: Pressures & Savings

These have been extraordinary times for all. Municipal budgets across the country have been under unprecedented pressure. However, with so many feeling the pinch, we’ve worked hard to contain costs and find ways to help people.

Unprecedented & Typical Demands

Here are some of the challenges, the City of Mississauga has faced:

  • The pandemic cut revenues more than expenditures. For example, we continued running buses for essential workers, but fare revenue was greatly reduced.
  • Inflation and supply chain issues have affected City operations just as they have with everything else.
  • The Province’s Bill 23 has cut City fees charged to developers.
  • Unlike higher levels of government, the municipalities have limited revenue sources and are not permitted to run operating deficits.
  • The City’s maintenance obligations are rising as our infrastructure ages.
  • The City no longer has huge tracts of undeveloped land to drive growth.

Finding Savings & Helping Residents

Nearly all of the City’s spending is to maintain existing services and infrastructure. So, the main ways to reduce spending is to cut services (never a popular choice) or find efficiencies. With the latter a priority, the City achieved $3.5-million in efficiency savings last year and $77-million since 2009.

Despite these best efforts, the tax burden is too much for some residents. So, the City provides » a tax rebate program and » stormwater charge assistance program for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. We also offer assistance programs for » snow clearing, » recreation, » transit, and » yard work.

For those in need, the City of Mississauga provides tax rebate and assistance programs.

4: Assessments & Bills

There are two calculations to keep in mind when you examine your tax bill to see any changes from year-to-year. These are the presentation of interim versus final tax bills and the impact from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

Interim Versus Final Tax Bills

When you get your first tax bill for the year, in early February, it is based on 50% of your previous year’s taxes. So, it does not reflect any tax increase for the year. When you get your final tax bill in early June, it reflects the full year’s increase (if any). For example, if a tax increase was 5% for the year, you would see no increase for the first half of the year and a 10% increase in the second half of the year — working out to that 5% when spread over the twelve months. This is not that remarkable for most people in a normal year, but with unusually high inflation and the tax increase that comes with it, it can be quite a jolt in June — despite averaging out over the year.

Property Reassessments

If you make upgrades to your property that increase its value, or the value of your property goes up dramatically relative to other properties in the jurisdiction, the assessed value will increase when the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation next conducts a review. MPAC is a provincial agency over which the City has no authority. Any tax increase from a reassessment is phased in over four years. So, in addition to a regular tax increase, you could have four years of increases from a reassessment. This calculation is labelled ‘202x Tax Change due to Reassessment’ on your tax bill.

We must adjust for changing demographics, climate, public expectations and more.

5: City Building Responsibly

While Mississauga may be done growing out, we are still growing up — literally with one new tower after another, but in a few ways, figuratively as well. We have to develop new strategies and new services to meet new demands. Traffic congestion, transit services, addressing climate change, an ageing population and affordable housing are just some of the challenges waiting for new solutions. Our budget must invest in these solutions while ensuring fair taxes — that’s responsible city building.

Construction cranes dot the skyline -- the fourth highest number in North America.

Quality Services, Managed Carefully

Going forward, we are committed to continuing to grow and develop the City of Mississauga in a way that continues to provide the quality of services our residents deserve and expect. However, our changing city will require new ways of doing things with our budget process. Our team in Ward 6 is challenging City staff to not simply provide us with a status quo budget, but to present options where we can defer expenses when appropriate, or when necessary for responsible city building, increase our investment. We’ll ask hard question, some that may not have been asked in the past. Spending other people’s money — your money — is a huge responsibility. We will continue working hard and working smart to meet that obligation.

Stay Informed!

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