MONTREAL, Jan. 29, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Mayor of Montréal, Denis Coderre, and the Chairman of the Executive Committee responsible for finances, Pierre Desrochers, today tabled the city's operating budget for 2014, which stands at $4.9 billion, an increase of only 0.3% compared to 2013. This slight change is the result of significant efforts to control expenditures and the introduction of the general tax system applied to the QST, which led to a reduction of expenditures of approximately $48.4 million.
"We are proud to table this budget which limits to 2% the increase of tax charges that are under the responsibility of the city council, as per our commitment. We believe that a public administration must make the appropriate decisions and live according to its means, just as taxpayers must manage their personal finances," said Denis Coderre.
Responsible and pragmatic budget
The administration's decision to control the growth of overall remuneration has led to a 5% reduction of overall remuneration expenditures in some central departments (except for public security). The city will make every effort to reduce the cost of pension plans, which amounts to $597 million in 2014.
Building a more transparent and efficient city
The first budget tabled by the new administration announces transparency, integrity and accountability. The administration's anti-collusion and anti-corruption plan is based on the creation of the position of Inspector General who will have the authority to intervene and order a stop to problematic or suspect work. An initial $5 million has been earmarked in the 2014 budget to create a unit for the Inspector General.
This budget lays the groundwork for the administrative reform that the Coderre-Desrochers administration has committed itself to making more efficient. "In order for this reform to last, we have created the organizational performance department. This new entity will be responsible for examining the main municipal management processes and activities and for suggesting new ways of doing business to save taxpayers money," said Pierre Desrochers.
Prioritizing public security and mass transit
In 2014, the budget of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal increases by $12.5 million, for a total of $677.3 million, including $2.4 million for the municipal integrity protection force. The budget of the Service de sécurité incendie stands at $357 million, up by $11.9 million. Montréal will increase its contribution to the Société de transport de Montréal by $12.5 million. The city contribution to the Agence métropolitaine de transport will be $55.1 million, up by $1.3 million.
Improving infrastructure performance
In 2014, the administration keeps up the pace of improvements, allocating more than $373 million for water management and $364.1 million for the road network. A sum of $153.3 million has been earmarked for snow removal, and we have increased the budget for roads by $2 million, including $400,000 for pothole repair in the boroughs and the inspection and maintenance of road structures, as well as $900,000 for repairs involving traffic. Montréal also has announced that it will maintain the overall level of allocation to the reserves dedicated to the cash payment of capital expenditures.
Taking leadership on social issues
The city must become the driving force of social development within its own territory and in the Greater Montréal area. An additional $1 million will be earmarked to meet the challenges associated with homelessness. The administration plans to help Montrealers become homeowners. Improvements to the home-ownership program aimed at first-time homebuyers include a higher limit for eligible properties and the addition of existing single-family homes and townhouses.
Developing the Montréal economy
The administration has made the economy of Montréal a priority. To ensure leadership in the field of economic development and build on the vitality of the city's economy, Montréal recently announced the creation of a new economic development department. Also, a sum of $11 million has been allocated to the Réussir@montreal (PR@M-Industrie) program to promote local economic development. The development of industrial parks is also covered.
Energizing Montréal through culture
Montrealers and their creative force help define the city. The 2014 budget therefore invests in culture and artists. A sum of $487 million will go toward cultural, recreational and sports activities and be allocated as follows:
- $74 million for the Space for Life (Biodôme, Botanical Garden, Insectarium and the new Planetarium);
- $12.9 million for the Conseil des arts de Montréal, up by $500,000;
- $5.4 million for the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, up by $250,000.
Montréal's 375th anniversary
The 375th anniversary of Montréal will be an excellent opportunity to highlight our city's unique culture. The 2014 budget includes a $1-million contribution, up by $400,000, to the Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal. More than $280.5 million will be invested, between 2014 and 2017, in legacy projects commemorating the 375th anniversary of the city's founding.
The Commission sur les finances et l'administration will examine the operating budget starting January 31, 2014. The adoption of the recommendations made by the commission is scheduled for February 10, 2014.
The Ville de Montréal 2014 budget documents are available at www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/finances.
SOURCE: Ville de Montréal - Cabinet du maire et du comité exécutif
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