“Regional governance” was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, as more than 100 people from Mississauga Wards 1&2 showed up Wednesday for a town hall meeting at the Port Credit Legion.

The event was called by Ward 1 Councillor Stephen Dasko and Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras, based on residents' concerns arising from an earlier town hall meeting held at the Civic Centre on Apr. 8 that saw residents express their concerns on the upcoming provincial review.

At the time, many residents were upset because the City of Mississauga adopted a position, in principle, to secede from Peel Region without either consulting them for their views nor providing a third-party analysis.

This time, a number of residents were upset that a $60,000 post card campaign to Mississauga residents was intended to encourage their postage-paid message to the Ontario Premier for independence from Peel Region.

Port Credit resident Jonathan Giggs pointed out that "the City printed its independence campaign postcards ahead of tonight's consultation. Some of us want to see explicit tick-box for the other options under consideration (amalgamation, regional efficiencies review), including a "NO" option to independence from Peel Region."

The independence campaign postcards will be delivered by Canada Post, beginning on May 2.

Unfortunately, another mistake from the Apr. 8 town hall was repeated at Wednesday’s event.

Although Mississauga Councillors have a dual role as Peel Regional Councillors, no representative from Peel Region was available to balance and oppose the case made by Mississauga to request its single-tier status.

Instead, City Manager Janice Baker reprised "Mississauga's Position on the Future of Regional Government" from last month's event.

As a status update, Baker told residents that public pressure led to a deadline extension until May 21 for submissions to the province’s Regional Municipal Review.

In addition, to address alleged gaps to conduct a transparent process, consultants Ernst and Young have been retained by Peel Regional Council to prepare an objective overall impact analysis of amalgamation and dissolution in consultation with the three municipal plus Peel regional councils.

In the end, the tone of the meeting proved to be more measured than the event held last month at Council Chambers.

Participants were comprised of mostly seniors who were long-time community builders from ratepayer associations, environmentalist, heritage and service groups.

Questions were also raised about the emphasis on reconciling property tax revenue by contribution.

"We have to look to the future, not the status quo," said Sheridan Homelands resident Pieter Kool. "If Ward 2 behaved like Mississauga, Ward 2 would want to secede because it pays

more taxes out than the value of benefits it receives from the City of Mississauga.

"Ten years from now, if we don't have a vision for Mississauga, then we may see Brampton surpass us,” Kool concluded.

Kool suggested that amalgamation of Mississauga with Brampton should be considered. Investments now to ignite Brampton commerce could result in repayment plus benefits.

Councillor Karen Ras received sympathy when she spoke about the barrage of axed and adjusted budget funding announced by the Ontario government.

In recent weeks, restructuring of health care, ambulance services, transit, conservation areas and development charges will lead to job and services losses, on top of pink slips already being served amongst social services and school boards.

"The City set its budgets January. Now, funding cuts are being announced retroactively to Apr. 1,” said Ras. “We are faced with a legislative mandate to nonetheless balance the City and Regional budgets."

The final Ward 2 resident speaker, Bill Chudiak, gave the crowd a call to action.

"To get action on our issues, we have to get on the phone to our Members of Provincial Parliament, write them letters and knock on doors.

"Let's support our councillors and help them get more time, so we can get better answers from this government," said Chudiak.