Montreal city council adopts controversial 2018 budget

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and her administration passed their first annual operating budget on Wednesday, with a vote of 40 in favour and 24 against.

Despite protests from demerged municipalities, the budget was adopted with a vote of 40 to 24

The budget was passed with a vote of 40 in favour and 24 against. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and her administration passed their first annual operating budget on Wednesday, with a vote of 40 in favour and 24 against.

While Plante's budget has been criticized over its property and water tax hikes, she has held firm defending what she calls a "transition" budget.

Plante has argued that the official opposition at city hall, Ensemble Montréal, has no right to call out her tax increases when she was saddled with a $358-million budget shortfall from the previous administration.

"There was no flexibility," said Plante after the budget was adopted.

She also drew fire for breaking her campaign promise to not keep tax rate increases below inflation, which is 2.1 per cent.

The average tax increase for homeowners in Montreal is 3.3 per cent with increases in the agglomeration averaging an extra 5.3 per cent for shared services.

Protesters gathered at City Hall Wednesday morning, decrying the new Projet Montréal budget. (CBC)

Residents from demerged municipalities in the West Island took part in a protest over the weekend, in an effort to pressure Plante to re-examine the proposed changes.

There were also protesters present at City Hall on Wednesday morning prior to the vote.

Despite the outcry, Plante insisted that if things had gone differently during the election, another administration would be making these same tough choices.

"We're being responsible, and we're taking action, and we're being sure that we don't just shovel all the problems to the next generation," she said.

With files from Sarah Leavitt