Montreal budget 2020: Spending rises, as do residential tax rates
MONTREAL -- The City of Montreal unveiled Monday its $6.17-billion budget for 2020 -- up 8.1 per cent from 2019, which hikes residential tax rates by an average of 2.1 per cent across the city.
It also presented a $6-billion capital works budget for the next three years, half of which will be spent on improving the city's water and road infrastructure.
The city says its spending is centred on four priorities: mobility, ecological transition, housing and economic development.
"Montrealers expressed themselves very cleary they wish to make their city a more equitable and greener living environment," said Mayor Valerie Plante at a news conference in Verdun on Monday.
It is devoting $2.11 billion to urban planning and mobility initiatives, including increasing its contributions to the ARTM regional transit authority, Bixi, the city's new mobility squad and the Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The city will also buy new busses.
The city's ecological transition spending focuses on accelerating its shift to zero waste and purchasing and preserving green spaces.
Montreal will also be spending more than $200 million on housing, working toward reaching the administration's goal of creating 12,000 social housing units; the city says it is already halfway there.
The city says it will also spend some $555 million on its economic development strategy, which aims to revitalize the city's economy.
However, an increase in spending means an increase in tax rates. Residential taxes are going up an average of 2.1 per cent across the city--close to the inflation rate of two per cent. For the average homeowner, that means an increase of 85 dollars, but some neighbourhoods will pay more.
Verdun will see the highest increase in taxes, at 3.2 per cent. Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce and the Plateau-Mont-Royal are close behind, with increases of 3.1 per cent.
Condo owners will see their property taxes increase a mere 0.1 per cent. By contrast, apartment buildings with six units or more will see a tax hike of, on average, 4.5 per cent. For someone who owns an apartment in Ville-Marie, that number will be 8.4 per cent. In Cotes-des-Neiges--NDG it will be 5.8 per cent and in Outremont, 5.7.
Non-residential tax rates are going up by an average of 1.5 per cent. Monday's budget was Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante's third as mayor.
Opposition councillors accused the mayor or raising renters' taxes too high.
"We're talking about people who are renters, people who are most vulnerable who are going to bear the greatest brunt of this tax increase," said Lionel Perez, leader of the municipal opposition.
The Canadian Taxpayer's Association condemned the budget as irresponsible. The organization said the municipal budget was dangerously high, at $6 billion, and has increased 20 per cent since Plante came into office.
Other notable items in the budget include:
- 30 new jobs to improve the 311 phone service.
- Crossing guards for 45 intersections near schools.
- 2200 electric Bixi bikes