Slight tax increases in region
Municipalities crunch numbers for annual budgets
As most residents deal with the financial aftermath of the recently concluded holiday season, municipalities and many newly appointed MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges mayors crunched their own numbers when adopting annual budgets.
The good news is that most towns will hit taxpayers with slight increases, or have come up with ways to ease otherwise larger tax bills.
St. Lazare’s newly elected mayor, Pierre Kary, notified residents last week via the town’s website that while the property valuations have increased on average by 17.5% in 2010, council decreased the mill rate from $0.647 per $100 valuation in 2009 to $0.583 in 2010. “The increase in property value combined with the decrease in mill rate represents a 6% average increase on the tax account,” Kary noted in his letter.
An average homeowner with a property valued at $262,000 for example, will see the home valued at $308,000 now.
The homeowner’s six-percent tax increase adds up to an extra $136.
St. Lazare adopted a $21,162,900 budget, which represents at 6.6% increase compared to last year’s budget.
Council cushioned the blow however by allocating $1,849,000 from its accumulated surplus.
Municipal service like waste disposal and sewer increased by less than one- percent, while water taxes remains unchanged, noted Kary, adding, “St. Lazare maintains some of the lowest tax rates in the MRC and in the province.” Like many towns St. Lazare said it had little room to manoeuvre when factoring in compulsory items like a $3,560,000 payment to the Sûreté du Québec, and a $730,000 fee to the Agence métropolitaine de transport.
Other factors that affected the bottom line included paying budget increases for town employees.
Kary said all represented previously negotiated labour agreements, as well as the creation of three new Town Hall jobs, Assistant Town Clerk, Environment Assistant and Special Events coordinator for another $291,000.
St. Lazare’s council will also grapple with “major decisions” in its infrastructure. Possible projects cited included: expanding and levelling the water treatment plant, a new fire station, the replacement of employee trailers behind town hall, an indoor pool and a $3 million Community Centre extension that had been approved by the previous council.
“The construction of the Community Centre extension has been suspended until the new council has had time to review all projects and analyse their impact on taxpayers,” Kary noted.
Budgets adopted elsewhere
Meanwhile, Hudson’s newly appointed mayor, Michael Elliott, as well as a mostly new town council adopted a $9.5 million budget during a special mid-December meeting. Taxpayers learned they will face a 3.19% tax hike this year and that their 2010 property tax rates will be set at 68.51 cents per $100 evaluation.
Pincourt mayor Yvan Cardinal along with the town council adopted a $17.9 million budget at the end of December. At the same time, a three-year capital expenditure program for 2010-2011-2012 was adopted.
Up by more than 15% in Pincourt are compulsory contributions such as policing and public transportation costs to the AMT as well as water treatment plants, which are up by 15%.
The town also increased its contributions to local organizations by 28%, and its human resources budget by 10%.
Down is the amount used for maintenance of machinery and equipment and the acquisition of goods and services. The average 2010 tax increase for Pincourt residents will be 2.62%, according to town files.
Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor Guy Pilon and council adopted a $49 million budget in mid-December that included an 11% tax rate decrease, one of the lowest in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region. The rate went from 75 to 64 cents per $100 evaluation.
And Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s mayor Francis Deroo expects the town to face an almost 20% tax increase in 2010.
Taxes will be up by 18.5% in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, thanks in large part to construction and renovations at the veteran’s hospital, as well as new buildings in the town’s industrial park.
St. Lazare residents will face a 6.6% tax increase this year, says new mayor Pierre Kary.