Prepare for a bigger tax bill, Montrealers.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration unveiled its $6.99 billion financial roadmap for 2024, with the mayor calling it a “responsible” budget with a modest increase in spending. Municipal spending will increase by $235 million, or 3.5 percent, from the previous year.
Home and business owners will have to pay more money under the plan.
Property taxes for residential buildings and housing will increase by an average of 4.9 percent citywide – which the Plante administration says is lower than the high inflation rate of 5.2 percent recorded in August last in the greater Montreal area.
But the average increase in residents’ properties next year will be higher than the provincial inflation rate of 4.6 per cent, according to city documents.
The largest increase is an average increase of 7.2 percent for the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro while Anjou is not far behind with 6.3 percent. The Mercier—Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce boroughs will also experience respective increases of 5.8 and 5.5 percent.
Which neighborhoods will see the lowest increase in property taxes? Owners in the central borough of Ville-Marie will pay 2.6% more on their next bill while the borough of Saint-Léonard will see an increase of 3.9%.
That’s an average increase of $227 for a single-family home valued at $694,541, according to budget documents.
Business owners will also be hit by higher property taxes – with some areas seeing staggering double-digit increases.
The average increase in Montreal will be 4.6 percent, but merchants in the Lachine and Saint-Laurent boroughs will be affected by 14.3 and 12.1 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, residents of the 15 municipalities on the island of Montreal will also have to pay 6.1 percent more to pay for shared public services, including police and fire services as well as public transit. This could result in higher property taxes for city and town property owners as their respective mayors prepare to release their budgets.
More money for public transport and the police
Some of the city’s biggest spending increases are on public transit. The city plans to spend an additional $48.4 million in 2024.
Most of the increase — $34 million — will go toward covering bus and subway fares for seniors. One of its main electoral promises, the Plante administration presented this measure last summer.
The Montreal police service will benefit from an increase in its budget of $33.8 million, while the city’s 19 boroughs will receive an additional $37.6 million.
In fashion now
Regarding snow removal services, the City has budgeted an additional $11 million for the coming year.
The Plante administration also plans to add 400 additional jobs to its workforce of more than 28,000 employees. Salaries will also increase by 4.4 percent, equivalent to $116 million.
“Disconnected” from priorities, accuses the opposition
Plante described the latest budget as one that “reflects our priorities, our ambitions and our collective aspirations for the Montreal of tomorrow” while “respecting” the city’s capabilities.
But Ensemble Montréal, the official opposition at city hall, accused the administration of being “disconnected” from the priorities of Montrealers.
In a statement, leaders said they are concerned that increasing property taxes will not only put pressure on homeowners, but renters will also feel the impact and end up footing the bill.
“Projet Montréal is the very incarnation of the caviar left,” declared the mayor of the Saint-Laurent borough, Alan DeSousa, who also represents Ensemble Montréal on financial matters.
“This 2024 budget is the image of an administration cloistered in its ivory tower while Montrealers are no longer able to find housing, get around and pay for their groceries.
Among other factors, Ensemble Montréal also criticized the additional hiring and salary increases planned in the budget. The party claims that the Plante administration “finances its extravagant and irresponsible spending at the expense of taxpayers.”
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