Côte Saint-Luc approves responsible balanced budget with average tax increase less than the rate of inflation

CÔTE SAINT-LUC, DECEMBER 18, 2006 – The Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc tonight adopted the local municipal budget for 2007.
“Côte Saint-Luc adopted a responsible budget that keeps the average residential tax increases below the rate of inflation,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “The Côte Saint-Luc City Council and management team worked hard to cut unnecessary expenses while ensuring that our local services, such as our library and recreation programs, will continue at the high level residents have come to expect.”
The City of Côte Saint-Luc budget will rise 2.3 percent versus last year's adjusted budget—from $29.2 million to $29.8 million. Regarding the tax rate, the owner of a single-family home whose property valuation increased at the average rate of 36 percent will pay 1.15 percent more in property taxes. Other individual tax accounts may be lower or higher, depending on the new four-year property valuation assessment roll, which increased the valuation of some properties more than others.

To help minimize the impact of property valuation increases greater than the Côte Saint-Luc average of 35.7 percent, the City of Côte Saint-Luc has reduced the tax rate (also called the “mill rate”) on all properties, and staggered the valuation increases over four-years instead of applying the new valuations in 2007 alone.
Côte Saint-Luc residents will notice the same two water tax items on their local Côte Saint-Luc tax bill as last year. These water taxes were maintained and money raised will be used to buy water from the City of Montreal, pay down the debt owed to the City of Montreal for the purchase the water distribution network under Côte Saint-Luc and pay engineering consulting Dessau Soprin for the maintenance and improvement of the Côte Saint-Luc water infrastructure. Each water tax bill is based on the value of the owner's property.

Operating Expenses

The City of Côte Saint-Luc kept increases in operating expenses to a minimum by trimming the budgets of all departments in a way that will not affect the services residents expect. This was achieved by a judicious review of all expenses and finding new and less costly ways to achieve excellent services to residents.
“Côte Saint-Luc decided to do our garbage collection in-house in 2007 to avoid paying huge increases from outside garbage collection firms," Mayor Housefather said. “This kind of financially wise decision would not have been possible had Côte Saint-Luc still been a borough in the mega-city because we had no control over budgets and local services.

“Fortunately, Côte Saint-Luc demerged and our local services improved considerably in 2006 and will be even better in 2007 because our local City Council has control over local services and we have gotten over the transition pains that occurred in early 2006 as we recreated departments that had barely existed during the four years we were merged.”
The biggest rise in expenses is an increase in salaries and employee contributions, which is a direct consequence of the forced municipal mergers. When Côte Saint-Luc was a borough from 2001 to 2005, the mega-city increased employee salaries. When Côte Saint-Luc demerged, it inherited a payroll that was much higher than what existing before the forced merger and given that many of those increases happened in the last months before demerger, the 2006 budget underestimated salary line and employee contributions.
The water infrastructure budget has also risen because Côte Saint-Luc identified water testing and infrastructure improvements as a priority.
“The engineering consulting firm Dessau Soprin will continue to test our water every week, fix leaks, fix fire hydrants and improve the underground water network we inherited from the City of Montreal,” said Councillor Dida Berku, who chairs the Côte Saint-Luc Finance Committee. “After years of inattention to our water system by the City of Montreal, we are finally able to make crucial improvements.”
Capital Expenditures Budget

Just as the expense budget allows short-term planning and control of current operating needs, the capital expenditures budget is a tool to aid long-term planning and control of long-range and capital needs, such as:

  • Road and sidewalk replacement
  • Sewer replacement and repairs
  • Repairs to municipal buildings
  • Upgrades and improvements to parks, pools and equipment
  • Upgrades to the ambulance fleet of Côte Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services and purchase of defibrillators
  • Replacement and upgrade of municipal vehicles and technology equipment

The three-year capital expenditures budget is $5.89 million in 2007, $5.57 million in 2008 and $4.36 million in 2009.
About the tax bills

Residents of Côte Saint-Luc will receive two municipal tax bills in early 2007 – one from the City of Côte Saint-Luc and another from the island-wide Agglomeration Council.

The Côte Saint-Luc tax bill pays for the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library, parks and recreation activities, Emergency Medical Services, road repairs, garbage collection and other local services. The island-wide tax bill pays for Montreal island services such as the police, fire prevention and public transit.


For more information, contact: Darryl Levine, 514-485-8905, dlevine@cote-saint-luc.qc.ca

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