Frequently Asked Questions
Budget Allocator Questions & Answers
What is the budget allocator?
The budget allocator is an online tool that lets people experiment with how spending decisions affect City services. It’s offered primarily as a way of sharing information: from the City to residents about City services and their cost, and from residents back to the City, about their preferences.
Why has Mississauga provided the budget allocator?
The allocator is meant to help residents understand more about the services and spending choices in City business planning and budgeting, and to give residents a convenient way to communicate their preferences to the City Budget Committee. The more Mississauga residents know about what’s planned for City services, the better they can express their opinions about plans, and guide their City’s progress.
What happens to the budget allocator results?
The allocator results are shared with Mississauga’s Budget Committee to help inform their deliberations on the City Business Plan & Budget.
Due to the municipal election, results relating to the 2019 budget will be gathered during November 2018. Results received by November 30 will be shared with the Budget Committee on January 14, 2019 during deliberations on the 2019 proposed Business Plan & Budget.
Budget Committee is scheduled to deliberate on the proposed 2019 Business Plan & Budget on January 14, 14, 21, 22 and 28, 2019. Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed 2019 Business Plan & Budget on February 6, 2019.
Where can I find the budget allocator results?
Results relating to the 2018 budget were shared with the Budget Committee on November 20, 2017 and are available online.
Results for the 2019 budget will be shared with the Budget Committee on January 14, 2019 and will be made available online on that date.
How did you choose the budget areas to include on the budget allocator?
The allocator includes twelve City services most people use or can easily relate to. These are also the services that require the most budget spending.
All service areas are represented in the full business plan & budget. Review the full approved 2018 Business Plan & Budget. The proposed 2019 Business Plan & Budget will be available here after November 28.
Why did you choose these spending options: -5%, -3%, agree with proposed spend, +3% and +5%?
We chose spending options that correspond to a widely used scale (Likert Rating Scale). They are evenly balanced between increasing, supporting, or decreasing the proposed budget. The distance between options is roughly equal, in accordance with best survey practices. The goal is to make it easy for users to find the option that most closely matches their preference.
How can I give you feedback on the allocator?
Feedback is always welcome! Please provide feedback on the budget allocator in one of the following ways:
- Use the comments feature provided in the tool itself;
- Use the “email us” feature on the budget website; or,
- Email us
How else can I get involved in the planning/budgeting process?
You can get involved in the City’s business planning and budgeting process in the following ways:
Tax Related Questions
How do I know Mississauga's finances/my tax dollars are being properly managed?
The City of Mississauga is a municipal leader in providing quality services and programs while continuing to build for the future in a financially responsible way. Standard and Poor's Rating Services (one of the world's leading providers of independent credit risk research and benchmarks) has endorsed the City's 'AAA' credit rating. According to Standard & Poor's, the City's financial management including its policies, audited statements and detailed budgets, have a positive impact on its credit profile. They also note that the City’s information provides “transparent, easy-to-access disclosure.”
How does the City develop its Business Plan and Budget?
The City's Business Plan, the first part of the Business Plan & Budget, is the roadmap the City follows to deliver the services residents expect. The Business Plan is a collection of specific plans for each of the services the City provides, like transit, library services, and community and recreation programs. Each plan shows exactly how the City intends to deliver its service. Planning for the future means focusing on the vision and goals outlined in our Strategic Plan. Planning for light rail transit on Hurontario, working with Sheridan College on the next building phase for its campus in Downtown Mississauga, and developing new and exciting plans for our waterfront are just a few of the projects that show how we are working to build Our Future Mississauga.
City staff prepare service area plans every year. Together, these service area plans make up the City's proposed Business Plan. A budget is drafted for each service area based on the business plan for that area. Service area budgets are submitted to the City Manager and Leadership Team who ensure they represent good financial planning and help the City meet its goals. The City budget is a collection of all service area budgets.
The Business Plan & Budget is discussed and debated by the City's Budget Committee and must be approved by a vote of City Council. Until it is approved by Council, it is the proposed Business Plan & Budget.
Timelines and process
Mississauga’s Budget Committee first receives an overview of the City’s finances and draft plan for providing programs and services for the year ahead in the spring. The Budget Committee then guides the development of business plans and approves budget requests to ensure the City can deliver programs and services approved for that year in the fall.
Find out when the next Budget Committee meeting takes place.
Who is involved in the budget process?
The Budget Committee is a Standing Committee of Council. Members include the Mayor and all 11 Ward Councillors. All meetings are open to the public.
Finance staff present an overview of the City’s current and projected finances. Business areas present their current service levels, cost pressures, efficiencies and new initiatives for the Committee to consider. Once the Committee approves the proposed budget, it goes to City Council for an approval vote. See meeting Agendas & Minutes for details.
Where do my property taxes go?
Property taxes go to the City to pay for City Services (35%), the Region of Peel (45%) to pay for services they provide and to the Province of Ontario for education (21%).
Does the City have any other way to raise revenue besides raising property taxes?
Other City revenues include user fees, and transfers from the provincial and federal governments. Property taxes are by far the largest source of revenue for the City. The City is currently exploring options for a hotel tax, as a result of recent changes to provincial legislation.
If the value of my home goes up, do my taxes go up?
Not necessarily. The re-assessment of your home is done by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), a not-for-profit corporation. When the City gets revised assessments for all properties on its property tax roll, it adjusts the tax rates accordingly. So, if your assessment increases at the average for the whole City there will be no impact on your tax bill. However, if it increases by more or less than the average there will be an impact. Increases in assessments are phased in over four years; if you disagree with your re-assessment, you can ask MPAC to reconsider your assessment. If you don't agree with MPAC after they have reconsidered, you can appeal to the Assessment Review Board.
What is the residential property tax increase for 2018?
Residential tax bills include taxes collected for the Region of Peel and for education, as well as City taxes. This means that only a portion of the increase residents will see on their 2018 property tax bill is related to the City budget.
The residential property tax bill will increase by 2.7 per cent. Of this, 1.6 per cent is for the City's services, and 1.1 per cent for Region of Peel services.
For the owners of an average, detached, single family home in Mississauga (value $604,000), a 2.7 per cent overall tax increase comes to about $140.52.
Development charges used to contribute a lot more to the City's finances than they do today. Why is that?
In the past, the City has funded much of its new infrastructure projects through charges that developers paid to the City to build new homes and businesses in Mississauga. Because Mississauga grew rapidly over the last 20 years, the revenue the City gained through development charges was significant. Now, with the City largely built, most development projects are smaller in scale, and the revenue received from development charges is much lower. As Mississauga continues to welcome new residents, many will likely be housed in existing housing. That means our population will grow but the City won't receive development charges to fund the infrastructure that may be needed.
Questions About the City's Debt
Why is the City taking on debt when we didn't have to for so many years before?
The City of Mississauga operated for many years under a pay-as-you-go philosophy. It is important to understand that municipalities must balance their operating budgets and can only take on debt for capital purposes. As the City was developed, infrastructure was built with revenue from development projects. The City is now largely built and development revenues are declining. As well, our infrastructure is starting to age and replacement is costly. A debt management policy for the City Of Mississauga was approved on December 7, 2011; it sets policies for responsible use of debt. The City took on debt for the first time in 2013 to fund capital projects such as LED street lighting and the Mississauga Transitway (BRT).
What is the plan for paying off debt?
Once debt is issued, the City is required to start paying off the debt or to put money aside to pay off the debt in the next year's budget, similar to a mortgage on your house. The City's infrastructure and debt levy includes funding to start paying off the debt. The City's debt policy ensures debt continues to be manageable.