Ville de Montréal tables budget - "The 2012 operating budget meets the needs of Montrealers of today, while paving the way for future generations," Gérald Tremblay

MONTREAL, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The 2012 Ville de Montréal operating budget, tabled today by the Mayor of Montréal, Gérald Tremblay, and the Chairman of the Executive Committee responsible for finance and administration, Michael Applebaum, stands at more than $4.7 billion, up 5.2% compared to the 2011 budget. This increase reflects the city administration's plan to place citizens at the heart of its concerns.

The city has tabled a budget reflecting an increase of 2.5% of the general property tax in the residential and non-residential areas. This balanced budget shows the city administration's determination to limit tax increases to the inflation and spending growth level. Following the recommendations of the Commission permanente sur l'eau, l'environnement, le développement durable et les grands parcs (standing committee on water, the environment, sustainable development and large parks), the city administration is maintaining its financing strategy for the Water Fund and has increased the special water tax by 0.5% for 2012.

"This modest increase is an exceptional achievement considering the pressures being exercised on city finances. Thanks to stringent and careful management of expenditure practices, that have been recognized by credit rating agencies which awarded the city its best ever credit rating, Montréal was able to give itself the means to achieve its ambitions, while limiting the tax burden for taxpayers to a minimum," said Mayor Tremblay.

The 2012 budget shows tight management of public finances in a difficult economic context. The pension plans now account for nearly 13% of the city budget. If it hadn't been for increased pension plan costs, the operating budget would post a meagre 2.3% increase compared to 2011. This is why the city administration intends to carry out a revision of these plans to reduce their pressure on taxpayers. It also intends to pursue its efforts to reduce the work force by 1,000 jobs by the end of 2013.

Maintaining quality services for residents, while making them more welcoming and accessible

In 2012, more than $466 million will be spent on activities for residents of all ages at its many sports, community, cultural and recreation centres, as well as in parks and playing fields. This budget has been increased by $7 million compared to 2011 and includes an additional $1.6 million, enabling the city to add resources and extend opening hours at several libraries.

As part of the 2012-2014 Three-year Capital Works Plan, $65 million will be spent to renovate, expand or build libraries, $50 million will be invested to renovate or upgrade arenas, while approximately $28 million will go towards building a new indoor soccer centre at the Complexe environnemental de Saint-Michel. Additionally, $152 million will be spent to rehabilitate borough and nature parks.

An operating budget of $180 million will be dedicated to solid waste management in 2012. This amount adds to the $25 million earmarked to build new solid waste management infrastructures as part of the Three-year Capital Works Plan for 2012-2014.

Modernizing Montréal infrastructures: Road network and water

In total, more than $130 million will be spent on operations to maintain and improve the road network, $2.5 million of which will be spent solely on minor repairs on bridges and tunnels. Inspections on structures have increased by 70% over the past three years. This rigorous inspection program gives a clear picture of the condition of city assets. Also, the city administration will increase the number of workers involved in bridge and tunnel operations, to accelerate infrastructure inspection and upgrade in Montréal.

The Three-year Capital Works Plan for 2012-2014 includes more than $1.6 billion for road infrastructure repair over the next three years, $132 million of which have been earmarked for bridges, tunnels and overpasses.

The budget earmarked for water in the 2012 budget stands at $331 million. The city intends to reduce water leaks, record water consumption by area of activity and improve drinking water consumption efficiency. To achieve this, the city plans to re-implement the water consumption measurement project for which it will add manpower in 2012.

A commitment to active transportation and public transit

In 2012, the city will award $395 million to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), or $5 million more than its adjusted budget for 2011. The city's contribution will help the STM to improve offering by adding service hours on its bus, metro and para-transit lines.

The city has reiterated its unwavering commitment towards public transit with a Three-year Capital Works Plan for 2012-2014 that includes investments of $514 million in mass transportation, $105 million of which will be used to implement new reserved lanes for buses and taxis. Additionally, $70 million will be invested in active transportation, $30 million of which will be used to develop and upgrade the cycling network and $40 million to introduce pedestrian safety measures.

Ensuring the safety of Montrealers

Because it has the safety of the community at heart, the city administration will increase the Service de police de Montréal (Montréal police department) budget by $28 million, for a total of $662 million. In doing so, the city wishes to maintain the same level of quality services for public security, or improve services, especially when it comes to response time and traffic flow. As for fire safety, the city administration will award a budget of $329 million to the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal (SSIM) [Montréal fire department], up $14 million compared to the 2011 budget.

Promoting economic and cultural development in Montréal and enhancing heritage

To help relaunch east-end Montréal, the city will invest $550 million by the year 2017 for infrastructure, development and development support, including $1 million annually in the new east-end development fund (PR@M-Est).

In 2012, the industrial element of the program, called Success@montreal (PR@M-Industry), will also benefit from an additional investment of $7 million, for a total of $16 million, to support industrial vitality in Montréal, by promoting the construction, expansion or conversion of industrial buildings.

The Conseil des arts de Montréal will receive an additional $500,000, for a total contribution of approximately $12 million in 2012. This organization is involved in concerted and development actions to support and recognize artistic excellence in Montréal. In addition to investments earmarked to safeguard city heritage, $39 million of which will be invested in development work included in the 2012-2014 Three-year Capital Investment Plan, the city plans to maintain a $500,000 contribution to the Conseil du patrimoine, a valuable advisory body and key player in safeguarding and enhancing natural and cultural heritage in Montréal.

"For 10 years now, we have been working to raise Montréal to the level of its ambitions, a true metropolis, and most importantly, a city that cares about its community. The 2012 budget is, without a doubt, a reflection of this commitment. In addition to focusing on the basics, and on the city's central missions, the budget meets the needs of the Montrealers of today, while paving the way for future generations," said Mayor Tremblay.

SOURCE VILLE DE MONTREAL - CABINET DU MAIRE ET DU COMITE EXECUTIF

For further information:

Darren Becker, Press Officer
Office of the Mayor and Executive Committee
514 872-6412

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