MONTRÉAL, Nov. 8, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - The mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, and the chair of the executive committee, in charge of finance, Benoit Dorais, have presented the highlights of the city's 2019 operating budget, totaling $5,705.1 M, as well as of the 2019-2021 Three-year capital works program (TCWP), which amounts to $6,496 M.
"Today, it is with great pride and optimism that we are presenting our city's 2019 budget. This new budget clearly breaks from the past. It reflects the spirit of our administration and places the economy and the environment at the very heart of its considerations. This budget will make a difference in the lives of our citizens today and for the generations to come. It will also make a difference for our business owners, who are behind the vitality of our neighborhoods. It is a budget that enables us to actively develop a great metropolis at a human scale," said Mayor Plante.
"We are proud to be tabling a budget and a three-year capital works program that combine economic development, social justice and the protection of our environment. This budget promotes equity, both among Montréal's neighborhoods, and between generations, and it enables us to fulfill the vision we have put forth for Montrealers, by working towards our priorities, namely: economic development, the environment, housing and mobility," said the chair of the executive committee.
A responsible administration
In this budget, the administration proposes a 1.7% residential tax increase, and a 1.3% non-residential tax increase.
The tax increase will be applied through three taxes dedicated to Montréal's financial priorities, that is an average increase of 1% for the water tax, of 0.05% for the roadwork tax, and of 0.35% for the tax pertaining to the financial contribution paid to the Autorité régionale de transport de Montréal. The latter was created this year, in order to provide more transparency with respect to the cost of public transit. As for property taxes, they will not increase this year.
The administration will also continue with its responsible strategy to increase cash payments for infrastructures by $80 M, bringing that amount to $400 M for the year 2019. Moreover, the 2017 urban agglomeration deficit also has a non-recurrent effect of $86.2 M on the increase in expenditures for 2019.
Finally, the 2019 operating budget provides a reasonable increase, beneath the inflation rate of general expenditures. The increase is of $66.7 M, or 1.2%, as compared to 2018. The administration is determined to control its current expenditures, in order to free up funds for new priorities from the existing budgets.
TCWP investments are distributed as follows: 72% for the protection and rehabilitation of our assets and 28% for the realization of new projects.
Economic development – Business assistance
The 2019 budget provides substantial support for local businesses owners, because economic health starts at a local scale. For this reason, certain measures will be put in place in order to lower the tax burden for a vast majority of non-residential immovable owners, through a 10% property tax reduction on the first increment of $500,000 or less of property assessment value.
Other measures are also put forth in an effort to support businesses and revitalize our commercial thoroughfares:
- $5.2 M for the worksite compensation program;
- $7.8 M in credits to carry on commitments and projects under the PRAM–Industrie incentive program. This program provides the amounts for economic infrastructures, including social economy;
- The amount of $1.2 M to support the implementation of the 2018-2022 Economic development strategy.
The protection and quality of our green space are essential to the development of our city for future generations. This is why the amounts earmarked for the improvement of local parks and the protection of green areas have increased by $104 M in the 2019-2021 TCWP. Investments in this area will tangibly improve citizen access to high quality green areas.
- $60 M for the purchase of natural environments;
- $56.8 M for the redevelopment of large parks;
- A total investment of $57 M per borough, to redevelop various parks over the next few years.
Because every citizen has the fundamental right to have access to decent housing within their means, the administration continues its realization of 12,000 social, affordable and family housing units. This involves the following investments:
- Additional credits of $40.6 M for housing, including the social and community housing units supported this year, for $26 M.
Mobility and road safety
Investments in road infrastructures and transportation projects total $1,955 M over three years. The administration made sure to propose solutions and programs that promote mobility, namely:
- $15 M to develop a network of mobility poles across the territory;
- The administration keeps its commitment to implement the Bureau de la ligne rose by awarding the amount $1 M for this project;
- New street development program: street redevelopment taking into account the current needs of our citizens, increasing the canopy and promoting a modal shift towards active transportation and public transit ($437.5 M);
- Bike path network: dedicated bike paths and increased number of bike boxes. In order to get people walking and biking around the city, they must be able to do so in a safe and pleasant way. Our programs will be adapted accordingly;
- Safety: increased school zone safety in accordance with the Vision Zero approach, as well as improved pedestrian traffic ($38.5 M).
As for borough budgets, they will increase by $25.1 M.
"This operating budget stands as proof of our unwavering drive to offer quality services to Montrealers. Every priority that we are putting forth reflects our commitment to making our metropolis a welcoming and prosperous living environment and to accentuating the vitality of our businesses, all while improving the quality of life of our citizens," concluded Mayor Valérie Plante.
SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Cabinet de la mairesse et du comité exécutif
For further information: Source: Geneviève Jutras, Attachée de presse de la mairesse, Cabinet de la mairesse et du comité exécutif, 514 243-1268; Information: Gonzalo Nunez, Relationniste, Service des communications, 514 868-1127