MISSISSAUGA, December 11, 2013 – Mississauga City Council passed the 2014 Budget today; next year's tax increase will be 2.4 per cent on the residential property tax bill. The increase includes 1.8 per cent for the City's services and 0.6 per cent for Region of Peel services.
"I think we've done an excellent job at making sure the citizens of Mississauga will continue to get the great quality services they expect at a price they can afford," said Mayor Hazel McCallion. "The people of Mississauga understand that costs to maintain and provide services like transit, roads, libraries and recreation centres keep rising. But they also know that City Council will make sure our taxes stay among the lowest in the GTA and residents are getting good value for every dollar."
City Manager and CAO Janice Baker added that the City is in a good position to deliver on the goals set out in the newly approved Budget and to continue to thrive in the future.
"Mississauga's strategic position in the GTA and our economic strength have given us a great foundation," she said. "Our sound financial management policies will continue to ensure we deliver the services people in our City value, while staying on track to achieve the goals we've set out in the City's Strategic Plan."
The 2014 property tax increase will help the City pay for services that residents depend on and enjoy. Key areas of focus this year include increasing transit service, managing the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer and maintaining City infrastructure. The City will also contribute to the Institute of Management and Innovation Complex at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
City staff identified $7.9 million in savings for 2014 through efficiencies. These savings have ensured the costs to maintain existing service levels remain below the rate of inflation.
The City's Gross Operating Budget for 2014 is $672.2 million. The City delivers services like transit, parks, forestry, recreation, roads and stormwater management and fire and emergency services through its operating budget.
The City's Capital Budget for 2014 is $178 million. The capital plan includes transportation projects like the new Transitway, road and bridge rehabilitation and other infrastructure projects like park facilities and storm drainage.
A total of 41 per cent of the City's 2014 Budget is funded through user fees and other revenues. Property taxes fund 59 per cent of the budget. For more information, see our 2014 Business Plan & Budget Backgrounder.
The City's 2014 Budget was reviewed by the Budget Committee before it was sent to City Council for consideration and approval. All members of Council are members of the Budget Committee. All Budget Committee and City Council meetings in 2013 were open to the public and aired live on Rogers Cable 10, with highlights posted to Facebook and Twitter. For more information about the Budget Committee and related City Council meetings, visit mississauga.ca/budget.
General Committee of Mississauga Council today endorsed a pilot playground program of free, safe and supervised activities to be offered in 12 parks throughout the city this summer. "Let's Play in the Park" will give 11,000 children aged six to 12 years the chance to play in the park with trained leaders each weekday for a nine-week period in their local neighbourhoods.
"There are a number of recognized benefits to providing free and low-cost recreation for children," said Community Services Commissioner Paul Mitcham. "Programs provide positive role models for children, support healthy development, encourage physical activity to fight childhood obesity and connect our young citizens to nature and their community."
Universal programs such as "Let's Play in the Park" give families with limited means the chance to participate in recreation services without having to qualify for social assistance ensuring they experience the many benefits associated with participation in summer camps.
The three-hour daily program will be designed to meet the High Five Quality Assurance Standard for delivering quality recreational services for children. Staff will plan a variety of organized games, sports, arts and crafts and nature skills activities.
The pilot program budget of $80,200 will not be funded through taxes with financial contributionscoming from youth employment grants and the Jerry Love Children's Fund. Its continuation in future years will be based on usage, feedback and getting commitment from a multi-year corporate sponsor.
"We're now looking at locations in every ward throughout the city to hold the program," added Recreation Director Howie Dayton. "These are where children can easily walk or cycle and that have the appropriate green space to deliver a fun-filled experience for all our Let's Play in the Park visitors."
As Canada's sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 741,000 residents and 55,000 businesses, including 63 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is "Leading Today for Tomorrow" by focusing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money and maintaining infrastructure.
Students raise over $3,000 to help the Philippines after the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan
By Amanda McAlpine
Students at Mentor College in Port Credit have bravely stepped up and taken action to raise money for disaster relief after Typhoon Haiyan. Students in grades two, three and four have spent countless hours making bracelets with the colours of the Philippines flag and selling them for two dollars each. The total raised and donated to the Red Cross of Canada was $3,600.
Typhoon Haiyan has been the deadliest Pacific Ocean typhoon on record, hitting most of Southeast Asia in early November. The typhoon killed 5,235 people and is categorized as the strongest storm ever. The Red Cross of Canada has been doing everything to help, and Mentor College students realized that they had the opportunity in their hands to make a difference.
"The idea for a fundraiser evolved after a class discussion," said Shamiez Nasser, a grade four teacher at Mentor College. "Students in my class had brought in newspaper articles showing the destruction caused by the storm and we collectively realized that we could and should help."
Over 300 bracelets were made and all donations from their efforts went directly to the Red Cross of Canada. 66 students participated in total, most giving up their recesses and weekends to make the bracelets.
"I was very fortunate to work with driven students and talented teachers," said Nasser. "Everyone put a lot of energy into making this a very successful fundraiser and learning experience."
The primary students' initial goal was to raise $1,000 in five days, however they surprised themselves by quickly surpassing their target. Older students at Mentor College also did their share, as grade eight students rallied their classmates to donate a loonie or toonie to the cause.
"[The students] focused on helping those in times of need," said Jason Fournie, a grade eight teacher at Mentor College. "And how that ought to be a priority, given the level of safety and security we enjoy here [in Canada]."
Media portrayal of the typhoon was discussed in classrooms; "we did a few mini lessons on media," said Rebecca Meyer, a grade two teacher at Mentor College. "How it can entertain, inform and persuade the reader. We made posters with the intent to inform and gently persuade [students to buy the bracelets]. The students really took a lot away from the fundraiser, including the meaning of empathy, compassion and teamwork."
Some Mentor students were indirectly affected by the shock of the typhoon, having nannies from the Philippines whose friends weren't found.
"The benefits [of this fundraiser] are much more than a textbook could offer," Meyer said. "It creates a team atmosphere with real purpose. It connects the students to the real world on an attainable level, and it gives all of us something to strive for as one unit."
The students' fundraising project was a great success with many lessons learned about the media, how to work as a team and how to help those who are hurting in a different country, right here at home in Mississauga.