Increased spending, modest property tax increases in Montreal’s 2020 budget

Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration is spending money on its priorities — such as housing, mobility and economic development — while still focusing on the city’s need for repairs to its water and road network.

The city unveiled a $6.17 billion operating budget for 2020, an 8.1 per cent increase ($462.9 million) compared to last year.

The city says the increase in spending is partly attributable to an effort to pay for infrastructure projects up front, instead of borrowing the money.

The average residential tax rate will increase by 2.1 per cent, with Verdun seeing the largest increase at 3.2 per cent — followed closely by the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Plateau-Mont-Royal boroughs at 3.1 per cent.

At a news conference Monday, the city also revealed more than $6 billion is budgeted for the three-year capital works plan, with half of that money going toward paying for work on road and water infrastructure.

“Improving the quality of our services to citizens has been at the very heart of our decisions for this budget, along with the quality of life of all Montrealers,” said Plante.

Like last year, the biggest chunks of money will be spent on public security and servicing the debt, with about $1 billion going toward each expense.

The city is highlighting its investments into mobility, housing, the ecological transition, green space and parks and economic development:

  • $2.1 billion will go toward urban planning and mobility, including money for Montreal area’s regional transport agency (ARTM) to help integrate new buses, money for BIXI Montreal to buy 1,000 electric bikes in 2020, and money to help fund the mobility squad’s operations.
  • An additional $2.8 million will be spent to help the city carry out its climate plan.
  • $202 million is going toward housing, including funding the city’s existing goal to provide 12,000 social, affordable and family housing units by 2020.
  • More than $624 million will be set aside for buying and preserving green space and upgrading parks and recreational facilities.
  • $555 million will be allocated to the city’s economic development strategy.

Almost half a billion dollars ($497 million) will be spent on water infrastructure in 2020 alone, which includes a program to help accelerate the replacement of lead service entry pipes.

Non-residential properties will see tax rates go up by an average of 1.5 per cent.

The city will also have, for the first time, a participatory budget — $10 million earmarked for projects proposed by citizens. Details on how the money will be doled out will come in the new year.


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