Unprecedented surcharge added to property taxes
Mississauga councillors have voted to add an unprecedented 5 per cent surcharge to property taxes next year as the city tries to tackle a dollar infrastructure crisis that could put the famously debt-free city in hock within five years.
The levy, to be imposed on top of a proposed 3.9 per cent hike in the city’s share of property taxes, is expected to bring in about $12.5 million next year. It could make Mississauga the most heavily taxed city in the GTA. And it still won’t be enough.
While the surcharge will add about $50 to the average residential tax bill, it falls far short of garnering the $75 million needed in each of the next 20 years to cover $1.5 billion in repairs and replacement of aging bridges, roads, and water and sewer systems.
Mississauga’s position is similar to Toronto’s, whose city council last month voted to impose new taxes on land transfers and vehicle registrations to cope with a fiscal crisis after draining the city’s reserves. Toronto has a $7-billion infrastructure deficit but is already heavily in debt. Water and sewer replacement alone will cost $2 billion.