With a provincial election set for June 12, Mississauga City Council today directed staff to communicate key City issues to the local community to engage voters and influence local candidates.
“The Province of Ontario is a key partner in ensuring Mississauga meets its vision and delivers on its city-building projects,” said Mayor Hazel McCallion. “We have light rail transit to build; we need to keep our roads, bridges and sewers in good repair; and we need an equitable arbitration system that keeps emergency services costs in line with other municipal services.” She added: “We can’t address these issues alone with the property tax as our only means of funding.”
City Manager and CAO Janice Baker tabled a report which focuses on three key issues facing the City, which require provincial funding or policy direction to assist municipalities in resolving. They are:
- Public transit – The City’s priority is the Hurontario-Main Light Rail Transit construction project (which would provide service from Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga to the GO station in downtown Brampton).
- Interest arbitration – Labour costs of emergency services continue to rise and are a significant portion of the municipal operating budget. Affordability must be a central principle in interest arbitration decisions.
- Sustainable infrastructure – Mississauga needs more than $116 million each year to fund repairs, maintenance and replacements of the City’s roads, highways, bridges, water supply systems, sewers, telecommunications facilities and transit systems. In 2014, the City will raise $32 million through property taxes leaving a funding shortfall of almost $91 million. “That funding gap will continue to grow even though the City of Mississauga has recently taken on debt and has introduced an infrastructure levy that has been added to the residents’ property tax bill to help reduce the funding gap,” said Baker.
“A provincial election gives us the opportunity to create awareness and engage local candidates on the issues that are important to us,” said Baker. “We need to let our residents and business community know what our priorities with the provincial government are so they can then engage candidates on these issues.”
The report outlines various communication tactics such as the development of a website, posing questions to party leaders and posting their answers, and using video and social media channels to promote awareness and understanding.
“Time is tight,” said Baker. “With only about four weeks left until election day, we have to move quickly and share as much information as we can with voters. It is our goal to inform local voters about local issues before they head to the ballot box.” Baker noted more information will be posted on the city’s website at www.mississauga.ca in the next week. See video message from Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion on the Provincial Election.