MONTREAL, Dec. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The Ville de Montréal 2011 budget, tabled his morning by the Mayor of Montréal, Gérald Tremblay, and the Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee responsible for finance and administration, Alan DeSousa, stands at $4.5 billion, a 5% increase over the year 2010. Montréal is tabling a budget with an increase in the general residential and non-residential property taxes of 2.5%.
This balanced budget reflects the administration's will to limit the growth of expenditures and tax increases. It is also the result of recommendations from the public and a transparent budgetary process established last spring by the administration, in which elected officials of all political parties participated and were represented on city council as well as elected officials of the related municipalities.
Montréal will reduce operating expenditures by $250 million by the year 2012, $125 million of which will be as early as 2011. These savings will be generated internally following an in-depth review of the municipal body and of its management structure.
The 2011 budget is also the result of rigorous management of public finances in a difficult context. Had it not been for the $135-million increase in the city contribution for municipal employee pension funds, which is a direct consequence of the 2008 economic crisis, the city's budget increase would be 1.8%.
In 2011, the Tremblay administration confirms its intention to tighten city management. Montréal will spend $20 million to maintain and add resources as part of a program to strengthen internal expertise and $3.5 million for the Service du contrôleur général.
Modernizing Montréal infrastructure: water, roads, buildings and parks
In 2011, more than $790 million will be spent to protect city assets, making up for past delays and provide the community with performing infrastructures. "For a few years now, my administration has supported the largest infrastructure repair sites in the history of Montréal. This year we wish to accelerate investments in the water infrastructure and continue to repair the road system. But we also wish to continue the work we began last year on sports and recreational facilities, parks and heritage," said Mayor Tremblay.
Montréal will be increasing financing of the Water Fund by $32.6 million. To ensure road safety on the Montréal territory, the reintroduction of a special road tax will generate $17.3 million. Consequently, in the residential sector, the tax dedicated to the Water Fund represents an increase of 1.2% of fiscal charges and that of roads of 0.5%.
A unequivocal commitment toward mass and active transportation
"My administration reiterates its commitment toward mass and active transportation. We believe that most of the solutions involving sustainable development and air quality involve the reality of mass transportation," said Mayor Tremblay. Montréal will add $28.5 million to its basic contribution to the STM as well as $3.6 million to its contribution to the Agence métropolitaine de transport, for a total increase of $32.1 million, or 8% compared to 2010. To finance its increased contribution to the STM, Montréal will use its enabling powers to introduce a $45 tax per registered vehicle on the Island of Montréal. Some exemptions will be granted, including school buses, taxis and the Communauto car-sharing service. A $28.3-million investment is scheduled until 2013 to develop the cycling path network in Montréal.
Welcoming, pleasant and safer living environments
To better meet the needs of families already established in Montréal and attract more families to the city, Montréal will invest $29.6 million in property accessibility programs, construction assistance aimed at families and residential renovation programs. In 2001, Montréal will continue to reimburse the equivalent of the transfer fees to all owners eligible for the first-time homebuyers of new housing units, or existing two- or three-family dwellings. As part of its first-time homebuyers program, Montréal increased to $12,500 the amount offered to families wishing to establish themselves in Montréal and buy a new three-or-more bedroom property. Montréal will also continue to develop the Haltes familles network in municipal buildings and add parking spaces for families with young children and strollers.
To make sure Montrealers are secure and that Montréal remains among the five safest cities in the world, the administration will increase by 5.1%, or $30.6 million, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal budget, and by 2.6%, or $8.1 million, the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal budget. The additional budget allocated to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal will help it to finance the work of police cadets and open up 150 permanent police jobs over the next few months. As for the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal, half of its budget increase will be used to continue to implement the risk coverage diagram. Also, Montréal will invest $14 million in 2011 to renovate stations and acquire new vehicles.
"Montréal is an international leader in the field of sustainable development. We are concerned about the environment, recycling, solid waste, and especially how to transform them", said Alan DeSousa. The administration will build five biomethanization and composting facilities by the year 2014. Construction on an ecocentre in the Saint-Laurent borough will begin in 2011, and a seventh ecocentre will be inaugurated shortly in the LaSalle borough. By the year 2011, the city will have distributed some 245,000 wheeled bins to increase the volume of recyclables. This operation represents an investment of approximately $16 million.
A sum of $10.1 million will be allocated in 2011 to continue cleanliness efforts with the return of the cleanliness brigade, graffiti removal from public and private properties, an increase in cleanliness efforts (street sweeping, waste baskets, removal of unauthorized billposting, sidewalk cleaning, etc.)
Ensuring economic development in Montréal
"In 2010, despite the lingering economic crisis, we have maintained our investment rate in our economic development program. In 2011, we are staying the course on our objectives," indicated Alan DeSousa. In 2011, $124.4 million will be invested in wealth-creating projects. Deployment of the Success@Montréal (PR@M-Commerce) will be maintained and credits of $4.1 million allocated. As for the PR@M-Industry program, Montréal will improve this economic development tool by increasing its $4.3 million to $9.5 million.
To support culture development, production and promotion, Montréal will improve, again this year, the budget of the Conseil des arts de Montréal, which will reach $11.5 million in 2011. In the Quartier des spectacles, Montréal will inaugurate the all-new Promenade des artistes and begin work to complete the Clark Esplanade and skating rink, to be completed in 2012. Approximately $50 million will be invested for this last phase of the project. Montréal will invest $11 million in 2011 to build the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.
"With this budget, we say to Montrealers that we are managing responsibly. At the same time, we are investing with determination for the future and the development of a genuine metropolis.
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