• John Jantak

Pincourt residential property taxes increase 2.2 per cent


JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt council adopted its 2015 budget at a special session on Tuesday evening, December 16, that will see residential property taxes rise by just over two per cent.

Pincourt homeowners will see their property tax bills increase by 2.2 per cent next year after the town adopted its 2015 municipal budget at a special council meeting held at the OmniCentre on Tuesday, December 16. The increase translates into $58 more for a house evaluated at $227,556.

The mill rate, which represents the amount of residential property tax charged for each $100 of valuation rose .0326 cents, from 0.7385 cents in 2014 to 0.7711 cents for 2015, an increase of 4.41 per cent. One significant decrease was a reduction in the potable water consumption fee which dropped from $203 to $179 and was attributed to residents reducing their water consumption.

Mayor Yvan Cardinal said his administration came up with a good budget that’s in line with the annual inflation rate and lower than the tax increases imposed by other municipalities. “It’s a good budget because we’ve tried to minimize the tax increase for our residents as much as possible,” Cardinal told Your Local Journal.

“It took a serious effort from all our different departments to come up with a reasonable budget when we take into consideration all the increases we received, $1.5 million dollars in increased expenses whereas the budget is only increasing by $292,000 (to $20,491,800),” said Town Manager Michel Perrier.

The $1.2 million budget shortfall that the town had to absorb this year is the culmination of reduced transfer payments from the provincial government and increased contributions to municipal government bodies such as the Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) and the Agence de Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT).

Perrier said the town doesn’t mind contributing to the AMT because of the commuter train service it provides even though he’s uncertain whether the town actually receives the level of service they pay for, but bristles at having to pay the CMM simply because off -island residents drive to Montreal to visit the city’s landmarks.

“That’s another government decision to incorporate us into contributing financially to the wealth of Montreal,” said Perrier. “The reason they’re giving us is that basically our citizens are using what they call regional facilities in Montreal, such as the Botanical Gardens or museums. It amounts to a contribution of over $300,000 a year.”

With 93 per cent of its revenue generated exclusively from residential property taxes, resident Isabelle Germain asked what the town would do to try to raise revenue from other sources in order to alleviate the financial pressure placed on homeowners. Perrier replied that while more commercial tax revenue will come from the two new big-box hardware stores that opened in 2014, the gain will unfortunately be offset by less revenue from the Faubourg de L’Île shopping plaza because of a drop in the valuation role.

The town is continuing to work with Faubourg representatives to try to rejuvenate the ailing plaza which has about 20 closed store fronts. The town is also striving to lure other businesses to set up shop in its commercial district south of Highway 20, especially at southeast intersection with Boulevard de I’Île where 1.2 million square feet of prime real estate is available for commercial development, said Cardinal.

Resident Antonio Pellegrino complained that constant tax increases from all levels of government and higher living costs have depleted many people’s financial resources to the point where they cannot give anymore and asked why the town didn’t use its accumulated $2 million surplus to impose a tax freeze. Cardinal said that while the town could have used its surplus, it would have been a short-term solution that would eventually result in a substantial tax increase after the funds were completely exhausted within a one- to two-year period.

When Pellegrino asked why the salary expenditure for the town’s employees increased by over nine per cent for 2015, Perrier replied that outstanding contracts were ratified with unionized employees this year and that it was necessary to increase salaries for the town to remain competitive with other municipalities that use a higher pay scale

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