2008 Budget for the Ville de Montréal - The Tremblay-Zampino administration honours its commitment not to increase the general tax burden for the third consecutive year

    MONTREAL, Nov. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Tremblay-Zampino administration this
morning tabled the 2008 budget for the Ville de Montréal which respects its
2005 commitment not to increase the general tax burden for Montrealers. "We
have met this challenge notably by refocusing the city on its essential
activities and goals," declared the Chairman of the Executive Committee,
responsible for finances, Mr. Frank Zampino. "Although we were operating in a
tight financial context, through our efforts, we have succeeded once more,
with the 2008 budget, in improving the level of citizen services while
respecting Montrealers' ability to pay their taxes," said the Mayor of
Montréal, Mr. Gerald Tremblay.
    The accounts of individual taxpayers, however, may decrease or increase,
particularly due to the effect of the 2007-2010 property assessment roll,
which raised real estate values and resulted in major fiscal fluctuations. It
is noteworthy that, following a request by the Montréal municipal
administration to the Québec government, variations in this roll were spread
over four years, until 2010, instead of the usual three. In addition, also as
requested, property tax rates were generally adjusted downwards to alleviate
the impact of these increases.

    Special water fund tax

    In keeping with policies resulting from the creation, in 2003, of the
Water Fund, the city will continue, in 2008, to levy a special water tax of
$20 million to improve aqueduct and sewer services. The city's contribution to
this fund totals $105 million for 2008.
    Launched with initial funding of $25 million, this special reserve, to
total $200 million by 2013, serves to define and coordinate an ambitious
rehabilitation program for infrastructures as well as to restructure water
services across the Island of Montréal.

    Elimination of water and services tax levied by the former city of

    The year 2008 also will see the complete elimination of the water and
services tax on rental values paid by occupants of non-residential buildings
in the nine boroughs of the former city of Montréal. This measure is part of
the overall process to harmonize tax rates throughout the Montréal territory.
    The two grant programs initiated in 2007 to attenuate the effects of this
fiscal change are renewed for 2008. One of these programs aims to compensate
owners of non-residential buildings worth $5 million or less, located in the
former Montréal, for any excessive increase in the tax level brought about by
this alteration in the tax regime.
    The other program is directed at certain organizations that are tenants
but are exempted from rental taxes because they work in the fields of art and
culture, social and community development or recreation.

    New borough taxes

    Moreover, under the provisions of the city charter, in 2008, the Verdun
borough will take advantage of the clause enabling it to levy a local tax to
improve its service quality. Three other boroughs, Montréal-Nord, Ville-Marie
and Anjou, will raise their local taxes. These local taxes result in
additional charges of $3.5 million solely for the ratepayers in these four

    Empower Montréal with the fiscal tools it needs

    Even if the Montréal municipal administration has succeeded once again
this year, in freezing the general taxes, Frank Zampino emphasized that it is
equally as important to diversify municipal revenue sources to guarantee the
city's financial health and further development.
    Moreover, this is why, last November 15, when tabling the city brief on
Bill 22 regarding governance of the agglomeration, the Mayor of Montréal and
the Chairman of the Executive Committee reiterated a request to diversify
revenue sources of the metropolis in a stable, recurrent fashion. "Montréal
must have the administrative and financial levers worthy of its role as the
metropolis and economic engine of Québec. Montréal ratepayers have already
done their part with their property taxes. We must alleviate the pressure on
property taxes as 72% of municipal revenue now comes from this source. If
Montréal does not have the means to diversify its tax base and generate
additional funding, not only will its financial health and capacity to meet
its obligations be affected, but so will its ability to compete with other
major cities in North America," said Mayor Tremblay in stating the city's case
for greater financial resources.

For further information:

For further information: Richard Caron, (514) 872-9859; Source: Cabinet
du maire et du comité exécutif

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