Average $99 tax increase in Rosemère in 2015
The Town of Rosemère’s municipal council adopted a balanced budget of $27,798 for 2015, an increase of 2%, i.e. an increase almost equal to the inflation rate. The constraints of the current context led the Leduc administration to reduce the property tax rate and inject $1,644,400 into the new budget. Consequently, the average value of a home in Rosemère having risen to $416,100 in 2015, homeowners in general will see their tax bill vary by 4.9%, i.e. $99, excluding service rates.
- a 15.6% increase in its contribution for its share of public services, totalling $956,200
- the need for more investments in infrastructures because of the provincial government’s increasingly demanding criteria
- the end of an intermunicipal fire safety agreement with the Town of Lorraine.
In addition, the Pacte fiscal transitoire (Transitional Tax Agreement) impacts Rosemère in two important ways:
- 50% reduction in the QST reimbursement, representing an income loss of $112,500, which is added to another $560,000 in cuts in 2014, for a total of $672,500 to be absorbed in 2015
- reduction and abolition of various transfer payments.
Finally, another constraint relates to the coming into force, on January 1st next, of a new three-year valuation roll, involving an average 13.6% increase in Rosemère property values.
To achieve a balanced budget, an amount of $1,644,400 from the surplus will be injected into the 2015 budget. "To hold the line on tax increases, we have tapped into close to 80% of the surplus accumulated over the years thanks to strict management. It should be clear to the government of Québec that resorting to surpluses will no longer be a solution for Rosemère,” cautioned the mayor of Rosemère.
The shortfall generated by government cuts and significant increases in the Town’s contribution for its share of some public services will not be entirely transferred to citizens. In fact, the municipal council has decided not to resort to the averaging process, choosing instead to reduce the residential tax rate, which drops from $0.5500 to $0.5082 per $100 valuation, the lowest rate in Québec. Merchants will also benefit from a reduction from $1.6609 to $1.5351.
The cost of drinking water is increasing from $135 to $170 per unit, reflecting the government’s new calculation method. In addition, a different tax rate will apply to water consumption exceeding 50,000 gallons, in an effort to preserve this resource. "We will also be respecting an election campaign, implementing a program to help homeowners 67 years of age and over remain in their homes,” announced Mayor Leduc.
The mayor was also proud to note that, over the past two years, her administration had expended considerable effort to keep operating costs as low as possible. "In 2014 and 2015, these expenses were reduced by 0.4% despite a 3.5% increase in the consumer price index. We have protected Rosemerites’ buying power.”
In short, the average price of a home in Rosemère having risen to $416,000 in 2015, homeowners in general will see their tax bill vary from 4.9% or $99, excluding service rates, an increase that could have reached 13.6% without the administration’s rationalization efforts and the use of accumulated surplus. "Given this situation, holding tax increases to the inflation rate had become impossible,” explained the mayor.
As for projects for the coming year, the mayor announced work totalling $6,178,400. The largest project calls for the rehabilitation of Northcote Street between Cedar and Rose-Alma, a project that will only be carried out if the Town obtains a grant.
The mayor concluded her budget presentation by announcing the establishment of a strategic task force mandated to review the costs and performance of the municipal organization as a whole. It will look into the pertinence of services offered, the level of service desired, as well as the optimization of municipal activities. "In the fall of 2014, we imposed a hiring freeze. Moreover, when positions must be filled, we will reassess them based on productivity, pertinence and costs,” she stated.
She further indicated that the Town would be hold public hearings that will take the form of frank and open dialogue with Rosemerites. "We have come to a crossroad: some of our road and underground infrastructures are getting old and solving problems in some sectors could require major investments. The situation is serious given that, after adopting different master plans, we are looking at major investments. Difficult choices will have to be made. We will be inviting our residents to this important meeting.”
Finally, the municipal council will be undertaking a reflection on the taxation/services versus investments ratio. "When all is said and done, our tax rate is the lowest in Québec, but what are the impacts of this? We must also focus on increasing revenues by favouring development projects available to us while respecting the Town of Rosemère’s country flavour,” concluded Madeleine Leduc.
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