Mayor Bonnie Crombie‘s motion to separate Mississauga from Peel Region won support of council Wednesday night, however, her counterparts in the region aren’t too happy with the idea.
“Analysis shows we send $85M to the region to fund the growth of other cities,” Crombie tweeted Wednesday along with a copy of her motion. “This is not fair to residents and businesses.”
“Our money should go towards Mississauga priorities. We must be able to govern our affairs and set our vision without interference.”
Crombie said now is the time for the move because of the provincial government’s undertaking of a review of regional governance across Ontario. Crombie said the governance model of Peel Region is “broken” and that it is not fair that Mississauga residents are subsidizing the other two cities in the region – Brampton and Caledon.
Crombie argued it is not fair for the city to be providing 60 per cent of the funding to Peel Region, but has only 50 per cent of the vote at the regional council.
Crombie’s motion called on the Doug Ford government to consider Mississauga a “single-tier” municipality, which would allow for matters to only need to be passed at the municipal level rather than with the region, as well.
The mayor said there is an inherent conflict of interest on how funding should be spent at the regional level.
“The governance models don’t work for the businesses and the people, the taxpayers of Mississauga,” Crombie said. “We currently fund the Region of Peel to the tune of 60 per cent of the tax levy yet we only have 50 per cent of the vote so it’s fundamentally unfair.”
“The $85 million we transfer every year pays for roads, pays for Brampton and pays for Caledon and it should be reinvested into the priorities of Mississauga businesses, for Mississauga residents, into our priorities,” she said, adding Mississauga has only under 30 per cent of the total roads in the region.
The mayor highlighted other cities, such as Hamilton and Guelph, who are single-tier, yet are significantly smaller than the 800,000 residents Mississauga is home to, which makes it the third largest city in Ontario.
Both mayors of the other two regions have been vocal in their disapproval of Crombie’s plan, with Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson calling her a “newbie.”
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said Mississauga would have a bill to pay if the city is granted secession.
“If they do, the reality is there would be a debt that would be owed to the city of Brampton. For years, the Brampton tax payers have subsidized Mississauga growth,” Brown told Global News on Thursday, noting Mississauga’s water treatment plant among other issues.
“It’s not as clear cut as to say we’re walking away from the Region of Peel.”
However, Crombie said Brown is being “disingenuous” with that argument.
LISTEN: Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie speaks to Global News Radio AM640’s Kelly Cutrara about city’s plan to leave Peel Region
As for the water treatment plant, Crombie said that was “paid by development charges by developers,” so it wasn’t the city of Brampton or Brampton taxpayers that paid for that.
It is not the first time the idea of separation has come up. Former mayor Hazel McAllion fought for secession from the region back in 2013.
Before the decision its position is finalized, Crombie said the city will hold a community meeting to discuss the idea in April.
“It’s time for Mississauga to stand up on our own two feet … and we’re hoping that the Premier decides to let us become independent.”