Beaconsfield budget in review

Anthony Abbondanza
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Tax decrease for residents as council passes 2014 budget Monday night

It took two months more than expected, but Beaconsfield has finally adopted its municipal budget for 2014 during Monday night’s special council meeting.

As with all municipal budgets, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. With that in mind, here’s a look at Beaconsfield’s 2014 budget.

The Good

City councillors unanimously approved a $40.1 million budget for 2014, a decrease of 1.56 per cent of last year’s total.

With the city’s coffers lighter by $655,000, Beaconsfield has cut taxes by half a percentage point for a home of average value (est. $483,480).

“It’s a very good budget for the city, a good budget for residents,” said Mayor George Bourelle. “We were able to keep taxes stable and slightly decreased.”

Including a decrease of 0.48 per cent to the water tax and a 0.09 per cent increase to the agglomeration tax, residents will pay 0.26 per cent less taxes than last year.

With an operating budget of $20.2 million –a 3.13 per cent decrease – a little over $9 million will be devoted to the following: police ($5.4 million); fire protection (approx. $3 million); municipal patrol (half a million); and emergency measures ($108,570).

The Bad

Nearly half of the budget is allotted for the city of Montreal.

In other words, Beaconsfield will pay the agglomeration $19.8 million –a $19,461 increase from 2013.

It’s a total that’s not sitting well with long-time resident Derrick Pounds.

“I would like our council to continue tackling the inequity of our demerged city of Beaconsfield being forced to pay $19.84 million in agglomeration taxes while off-island suburbs pay nothing,” he said.

While he’s not happy with the allotment, Bourelle told The Chronicle that its outside of his power to force any beneficial change as the demerged cities on the Island of Montreal are outnumbered on the agglomeration council. 

The Ugly

Due to amendments to financial and accounting methods at the provincial level, whereby the government will no longer repay, in full, the provincial sales tax, Beaconsfield is reporting a loss of revenue of $670,800.

“It’s a burden obviously. It has an impact on our budget. It’s a burden for all municipalities,” said the mayor.

The city will, however, will recover $357,092.

“They make the rules. We live by their rules,” said Bourelle.

And to add fire to the fuel, residents continue to be plagued by two water taxes, even though management of Pointe Claire’s water treatment plant has been transferred to Montreal.

Bourelle, along with other cities part of the Association of Suburban Municipalites (ASM), has voiced his displeasure about the controversial tax during recent agglomeration meetings.

“It’s irritating. I’d like to see it go away,” the mayor said.

Other highlights

Here’s a look at some of the city’s sources of revenue.

  • $94,466 decrease related to water consumption;
  • $32,500 decrease in user fees for sports fields;
  • $100,000 decrease in land transfer tax (or welcome tax);
  • $70,000 increase in receivable interest;
  • An amount of $425,000 comes from City surpluses and reserves in particular:
  • $50,000 to improve access to recreational facilities to meet universal accessibility standards;
  • $150,000 for the digitization of our archives, building permits and urban planning records;
  • $75,000 for a professional land survey for inventory purpose;
  • $150,000 related to the emerald ash borer, a tree management software, various expert services and for the waste reduction pilot project.

And the city’s expenses…

$48,514 increase for the improvement of information technology; $71,845 decrease in general maintenance and energy. This includes a transfer of City  

  • Hall costs which will be reflected as an increase in library maintenance costs;
  • $156,806 decrease in the Registry budget because this is not an election year;
  • $91,429 overall decrease in the cost of water and sewer functions;
  • $67,416 decrease for the waste reduction pilot project, 50% of which is funded by the
  • FCM project expenditures;
  • $103,612 increase in the cost of interest incurred on the debt;
  • $341,400 decrease in principal repayment of the debt;
  • $223,653 decrease in working fund repayment;
  • $97,000 decrease in investment activities reflecting the impact of the QST, as well as a new approach to the replacement of playground equipment valued at $30,000.

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Organizations: Association of Suburban Municipalites, The Chronicle

Geographic location: Montreal, Iceland, Pointe Claire

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