Montreal Budget | An average tax increase of $227

In the midst of an economic slowdown, the City of Montreal is presenting a budget of 7 billion, up 3.5% for next year, financed by an average increase of $227 in residential tax bills.

The size of the municipal apparatus continues to grow and will include 400 additional positions, while Valérie Plante’s administration does not plan any significant reduction in expenses.

According to the mayor, balancing the City’s finances presented “challenges” in the current context. “The budget that we are presenting to you today is responsible. That’s the word that comes to mind,” said Valérie Plante on Wednesday. “It’s a budget that is stable, that is connected to the needs of Montrealers. »

“Everything costs more,” she added, confiding that the budget had been “difficult” to put together, but was “the minimum required to get the machine rolling.” “Montréal protects services to citizens and stays focused on investments that correspond to the population’s priorities: housing, public transportation and the fight against climate change. »

It was the outgoing president of the executive committee, Dominique Ollivier, who was until recently to present the Montreal budget. Her professional life, however, took a radical turn 10 days ago, with the publication by Quebecor of her expense allocations from the time when she was president of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal. She resigned on Monday, leaving the presentation of her budget to the mayor of the South-West and new head of finance, Benoit Dorais.

“We had to make difficult choices,” he said. “We are focusing on the pressing needs of our world. »

4.9% increase in residential taxes

The budget includes average tax increases of 4.9% on residential properties and 4.6% on commercial properties. This represents an additional bill of $161 for an average single-family home, $133 for an average condo and $254 for an average plex. This is a high since the 2010 budget and the last economic crisis.

Due to variation in home values ​​and local taxes imposed by boroughs, the impact on tax bills is not uniform across the island. Owners in Pierrefonds-Roxboro will see their bill increase by 7.2% on average, compared to 2.6% in Ville-Marie.

“We want to avoid increasing the financial burden borne by taxpayers,” assured Plant. ” It is tough for Montrealers, we hear it. » She stressed that the increase in the budget is below the inflation rate forecast for 2023 by the Institute of Statistics (ISQ) for Montreal in August 2023, i.e. 5.2%. The inflation rate forecast for the Montreal region by the Conference Board for 2024 is more like 2.5%.

The slowdown in the real estate market and construction starts hurt the City’s finances in 2023. In particular, it collected 120 million less than the previous year in welcome taxes. Revenues from fines, particularly parking fines, are also substantially less than expected.

The administration does not foresee any significant improvement in this area for 2024.

However, it plans to invest more money in its priorities, for a total of 234.8 million in additional spending next year. “A modest and contained increase,” assured Valérie Plante.

The budget notably praises new investments in inspection by the SIM Fire Safety Service, security around schools and ecological transition.

“We are going to secure 33 new schools and launch a first call for projects to secure the movement of elderly pedestrians,” indicates the administration. “Our investments in water infrastructure continue to increase. This year, 702 million will be invested, and will be used in particular to finance the collector in the east of Montreal at a cost of 78 million which is key to redeveloping land in the East. On the surface, we also need to innovate, particularly with the sponge installations that are multiplying everywhere in Montreal. This is why we are going to invest 240 million for this type of infrastructure which will limit the impact of heavy rains. »

Police and public transport will be expensive

Like every year, it is public security that takes up the lion’s share of the municipal budget with 18% of expenses.

The Montreal City Police Service (SPVM) has again significantly exceeded its 2023 budget. The municipal council had granted it 788 million, while its expenses should ultimately amount to 830 million. We blame the overtime worked by the police, in the midst of a staffing shortage.

The public security budget for 2024 is up by $35.5 million compared to the 2023 budget.

Among the other budget items which are increasing expenditure for next year, we find the collection and processing of residual materials (up by 25.3 million), the financing of BIXI, particularly for winter cycling (12 .7 million), snow removal (11.4 million) and computer security (10.6 million).

The City also anticipates that its contribution to public transportation will be 715 million, an increase of 48.4 million.

As for the districts, expenditure is up by 37.6 million.

New employees will be hired in sectors deemed priority by the administration: police (107 positions), fire prevention (25), project office for the extension of the blue metro line (19), computer security (12), security pedestrians, particularly around schools (9), crossing guards (9), inventory of heritage buildings (8) and mobile social mediation and intervention team (6).

The City specifies that it receives funds from the Quebec government for the hiring of new police officers and that the blue line project office is financed by the Regional Transport Authority of the Metropolis (ARTM).

In the boroughs, 188 positions are being added to meet various needs.

In total, the city will have 491 more employees, but 91 positions will be eliminated in sectors deemed non-priority, for a total of 400 additional positions.

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