January 20, 2006 10:15 ET

Montreal's Revised 2006 Budget: A Budget to Meet Montrealers' Expectations

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 20, 2006) - Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay and President of the Executive Committee and member responsible for finance and taxation, Frank Zampino, today tabled a Revised 2006 Budget that meets Montrealers' expectations and commitments made in the past electoral campaign.

"Our budget complies with our electoral commitments, although some of them may get off to a less vigorous start that we would have wished. We have had to make some occasionally tough choices so that the President of the Executive Committee could submit a balanced budget reflecting our desire to make Montreal a clean and safe city that enjoys an exceptional quality of life and of the environment and that represents an innovative metropolis, with a window on the world," said Mr. Tremblay.

"We withdrew the budget in December for two reasons. We had to make major changes in various budget items following adoption by the Government of Quebec of an order pertaining to the creation of the Montreal agglomeration. We also wanted to meet our goal of a budget that would not increase global tax burdens. In tabling this revised budget, we are fulfilling this dual challenge and are once again taking action as a responsible and courageous administration," said Mr. Zampino.

The budget now being submitted by the city for the year 2006 totals $3.855 billion. This represents a $141.1 million (3.8%) increase over the Comparative 2005 Budget and a $47.4 million (1.2%) decline from the initial 2006 budget.

A total of $1.991 billion of this budget is devoted to services dispensed by the agglomeration, while $1.935 billion applies to services provided by the central city. Of the latter amount, $845 million has been allocated to the budgets of Montreal's 19 boroughs. Borough funding remains at the same levels as provided in the initial December budget and represents a $49 million (6.1%) increase over the Comparative 2005 Budget.

The Revised 2006 Budget maintains investments earmarked for restoring the water supply and road systems, as well as funding for implementing road safety and cleanliness programs, for the gradual introduction of first responder services, for the extension of library hours and for boosting the city's contribution to the Societe de transport de Montreal.

Changes in the initial budget

To keep global tax burdens at the same levels, the initial 2006 Budget has been reduced by $61.4 million ($55.8 million for Montreal taxpayers and $5.6 million for taxpayers of the 15 reconstituted cities). To achieve this goal, the administration was forced to reduce operating expenditures and reassess its water supply and road repair strategies.

Reduced expenditures

Expenditures were cut by $21.4 million, as follows:

- $12.1 million from decreasing staffing, service costs and
professional fees by modifying various strategic projects, such
as harmonization of the pension plans, deployment of new budget
and debt management systems and implementation of Montreal's
integrated SIMON information management system, supplemental
reductions in the Direction des communications and trimming of
expenditures in the mayor's office.
- $5.3 million by deferring plans to deploy police officers in the
subway system.
- $4 million for the gradual, two-year implementation of the 3-1-1
telephone service.

"We feel that some of these projects are of great importance. However, we must make what are occasionally difficult choices. These projects are not been eliminated. Rather, they have been deferred or postponed, since they still represent priorities for our administration," said the President of the Executive Committee.

Reassessment of funding strategies

On December 14, 2005, or seven days after the 2006 Budget was initially tabled, the Government of Quebec adopted an order pertaining to the conditions under which financial assistance would be paid by SOFIL (the Societe de financement des infrastructures locales du Quebec). These funds are generated by transferring a share of the federal gasoline tax as announced by the Government of Canada. This assistance resulted in the reassessment of funding strategies for projects pertaining to the water supply and road repairs.

Revenues of $33 million resulting from SOFIL's financial assistance will thus be used to fund water-related projects. Further, the Three Year Capital Expenditure Program will receive an additional $7 million to finance the water and roadwork funds.

"These two initiatives will enable us to recover $40 million and to reduce the general property tax by an amount equal to the water and the road funds. This new financial package will allow us to maintain the major investments that we had set aside for restoring our water supply and for repairing our road system," Mr. Zampino noted.

Order concerning the agglomeration council

The measures adopted by the Government of Quebec, following the order concerning the creation of the Montreal agglomeration and Bill 134, which once again amends certain legislative provisions in the municipal arena, have also resulted in a $136.2 million reshuffle of budget items. Some agglomeration expenditures have been transferred to the city and vice versa.

These budgetary adjustments pertain to the following areas:

- The contribution paid to the Communaute metropolitaine de
- Montreal's nature museums.
- Montreal's downtown area.
- Compensation for the occupancy of certain buildings.
- Transitional methods for billing drinking water services.
- Cote Saint-Luc first responders.

"The Revised 2006 Budget ultimately responds to the requirements of the order and the act adopted by the Government of Quebec, which resulted in substantial changes to our budgetary forecasts. This revised budget also serves to keep global taxpayer burdens at the same levels as in 2005. Our administration has shown that it listens to its constituency and our residents have come out as the winners in this process," Mr. Zampino stated.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay concluded by reiterating his commitment to the people of Montreal. "Throughout the electoral campaign, you spoke to me about cleanliness, the environment and efficiently designed infrastructure. This budget complies with the priorities that I consider vital to the well-being of our city," said Mr. Tremblay.

Contact Information

  • Source:
    Office of the Mayor and the Executive Committee
    Maxime Chagnon
    (514) 872-5527
    (514) 824-1580
    Bernard Larin
    (514) 872-9998
    Richard Caron
    (514) 872-9859