Challenges facing Brampton’s 2018-2022 City Council

Brampton’s 2018-2022 City Council was welcomed in front of a packed audience at the Rose Theatre on Monday. The inauguration event was an opportunity to hear the priorities of the Mayor and mingle with Councillors.

The difficult work for council now begins, including addressing the following issues:

REGIONAL CHAIR

The decision by Premier Ford to maintain the status quo in how the Chair of Peel Regional Council is elected leaves much to be concerned about. The current process requires backroom negotiations, deal making and lobbying by candidates that is being done out of public view.

Brampton’s lack of representation on Peel Regional Council continues this term. Mississauga has fought to maintain 12 seats and Caledon has no intention of relinquishing their 5 seats. Brampton is stalled at 7 seats with the deciding vote an many issues going to the Chair. Brampton has never had a “Brampton friendly” Chair.

DIVISIVE COUNCIL

Can newly elected Mayor Patrick Brown unite Council to work together? The previous term of office under Mayor Linda Jeffery was plagued by infighting, allegations of bullying and accusations of obstruction. With the retirement of 4 Councillors, there is an opportunity to unite and have everyone rowing in the same direction.

CANNABIS

One Councillor has already launched a “poll” and campaign in which she says that the residents in her ward want to opt out of the legal sale of cannabis within city limits. The stakes for the city are high as there is a potential for significant revenue that would be shared 50/50 between the Province and the Municipality. The deadline for the city to make a decision to the Province is January 22.

PROVINCIAL RELATIONSHIP

The tension between Mayor Patrick Brown and Premier Doug Ford has been brewing and the release of Brown’s book “Take Down” has not helped in easing tensions. At the Brampton Focus City Building Debate at the Rose theater during the municipal campaign, Brown made it  clear that he and Premier Ford were “not BFF’s.”

Premier Ford announced immediately after the municipal election to pull University expansion funding from Brampton, Milton and Vaughn. Could this be the first of many battles with Brampton where Mayor Brown’s relationship with the Premier will come into play

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Brampton’s status as a bedroom community is firmly entrenched with 60% of the city’s workforce working outside the city. Economic Development has been the soundbite for successive councils, yet very little has been done other than to freeze employment lands from being used for residential development.

In 2014, a financial report to the city stated that “Brampton’s operating expenses have increased at a faster rate of both inflation and growth.” As a result, “90% of total property tax revenue each year have consistently gone to fund City’s payroll costs” and fuel property tax increases. Without investment from business to offset the burden on residential property owners, this situation could easily escalate and put he city’s infrastructure needs at risk.

 

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