Slight tax in­creases in re­gion

Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties crunch num­bers for an­nual bud­gets

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

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.

Town in­fra­struc­ture

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.

PHOTOTHÈQUE

St. La­zare re­si­dents will face a 6.6% tax in­crease this year, says new mayor Pierre Ka­ry.

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