City of Montreal 2014 budget hikes property taxes
Montrealers will see tax hikes between 1.1% and 5.3%, once borough increases are factored in
- Average property tax increase of 1.9%
- Spending increase of about 0.3%
- Budget plans $5-million dollar budget for inspector general's office
Mayor Denis Coderre's administration has unveiled its $4.9 billion budget for 2014.
The operating budget is a slight 0.3 per cent increase from last year's budget.
Coderre had campaigned on a promise to limit tax increases to the inflation rate, which he referred to as two per cent, even though the annualized rate of inflation is currently 0.9 per cent in Montreal and 1.2 per cent across Canada.
Coderre said he kept his promise by ensuring that the city would hike taxes by 1.9 per cent for the average residential homeowner.
However, boroughs are also increasing tax rates, meaning that the average Montrealer will actually see a 2.8 per cent increase.
Coderre said his administration is proud of the budget, and he called it a "bridge" from old to new.
"We are taking action. While the budget responds to most of the concerns expressed during the election campaign, it is only the first step towards what we intend to achieve," Coderre said.
City services get financial boost
The city is adding an extra $12.5 million to the Montreal police budget, and nearly as much to the budget of the fire department.
The Montreal public transit corporation (STM) will receive a $12.5 million budget increase, but STM officials say it's not enough to maintain the corporation's current level of services, and will have to cut bus service by 3 per cent.
The AMT will receive a $1.3 million increase.
The budget also allocates an extra $2 million for the road network.
Coderre's administration has also promised to cut back on the nearly $600 million pension fund for city employees, but there are no specifics as to how that will be done.
Last budget sparked anger with 3.3% hikes
Compared to the last city budget, which sparked fury with its proposed 3.3. per cent average property tax hikes, today's budget is likely to meet with less controversy.
The 2013 budget was tabled by former mayor Gérald Tremblay in October 2012, around the same time that allegations of corruption at City Hall emerged.
Tremblay stepped down a few days later, after his administration back-peddled on those hikes.
When former Mayor Michael Applebaum took over the city's leadership, he lowered the tax increase to 2.2 per cent.