BY KELLY ROCHE
Tax increases are driving seniors out of Mississauga, according to a longtime Clarkson resident.
“I’m very disappointed” in the 2017 budget, said Dave MacLean, following a town hall meeting at Lorne Park Public School Wednesday evening.
With wife, Sue, MacLean has been living in the area for 25 years and says coupled with “unbearable” hydro rates in Ontario, city taxes are too burdensome for retirees.
“We see it in our neighbourhood,” said MacLean, who lives near Rattray Marsh.
He says neighbours are leaving town for communities such as Dundas, Bowmanville, and Brantford, where they can own a similar house for half the cost.
Municipal property taxes in Mississauga are shared with the Region of Peel, which receives 45 per cent, and the province, which receives 21 per cent.
City staff are proposing a 5.9 per cent hike on the city’s portion, or 34 per cent, resulting in a 2.98 per cent increase on the 2017 residential property tax bill.
That works out to an average of $147 on a detached, single family home worth $564,000.
And that’s too much for some residents.
“No one on city council in Mississauga really appreciates the impact of their taxes on seniors that want to live in their homes,” said MacLean.
“Our income goes up every year at the rate of inflation, OK? So that’s how we have to budget our lives.”
Living on a fixed income, MacLean says he’ll receive a 1.2 per cent or 1.3 per cent increase – significantly less than any tax hike.
“We seniors are getting poorer year after year,” said MacLean.
Ward 2 Coun. Karen Ras says she’s been hearing from constituents.
“I’m doing what I can as councillor to put forward some suggestions to help minimize that impact, and I felt tonight was very productive in terms of getting direct citizen input.”
The proposed net operating budget for 2017 is $463 million.
“I don’t know if there’s anything on there that should be cut,” said Bob Winterton of Lorne Park.
Budget committee continues deliberations Dec. 7.
The proposed 2017 business plan and budget is expected to be approved by council on Dec 14.