New municipal budget brings tax relief for Senneville residents


JOHN JANTAK

Senneville Mayor Jane Guest said homeowners will see their property tax bills decrease by 5.8 per cent this year after council approved its 2015 municipal budget at a special session on Monday, January 26.

Senneville residents will see their property tax burden ease this year after Mayor Jane Guest and town council adopted its 2015 municipal budget at special session on Monday, January 26. The mill rate charged for residential properties was reduced by 5.8 per cent, which represents an annual savings of about $500 for the average homeowner, said Guest.

The drop was in stark contrast to the 9.5 per cent increase residents had to absorb last year. The mill rate for 2015 is $0.7236 per $100 of valuation compared to $0.7681 in 2014. The decrease is attributed to the new industrial tax revenue stream that will be generated when the new Tenaquip facility begins operations later this year.

Last year, Senneville had to absorb an unexpected loss of revenue when the old Domtar building located on the grounds of Belvedere Cemetery was demolished. Of the town’s $5.4 million operating budget, 63 per cent will go directly to the Montreal Agglomeration, with an additional one per cent earmarked for the Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM).

“There’s not much we can do about it,” Guest told Your Local Journal. “We don’t have a big voice. We go to the agglomeration meetings to vote on all the big issues, but the Montreal boroughs have 83 per cent of the vote so we don’t have a big say in it. But as a group and member of the Association of Suburban Municipalities, we vote collectively and hope to make an impact.”

Overall, Guest said the community receives adequate value for the money it contributes to the agglomeration for police, fire, water and sewage services, although it still has to pay for public transit even though the village doesn’t receive any service.

“There’s no bus line that runs through Senneville, not that we’d necessarily want to have one,” said Guest. “It’s just something that we have to live with in terms of paying for this service.” When it comes to policing, Guest said there has been an improvement within the municipality under the leadership of Station 1 Commander Richard Thouin.

“We work closely with the police and the service is good,” said Guest. “We always feel that we should get more coverage, but we’ve noticed there have been more patrols in the last year,” Guest added. “Commander Thouin is very community minded and we find things have improved since he took charge.” Guest said Senneville receives excellent firefighting services and credits the prompt response by local and neighbouring fire departments for their quick work to contain and extinguish a major blaze which enabled a large portion of the historic Morgan Estate on Senneville Road to be saved last December.

“It’s one of the oldest buildings in the village,” said Guest. “There were about 20 fire trucks that were on scene within five minutes after the first alarm came in. Fortunately the house is built of stone and the fire didn’t spread to other parts of the estate. But there still is a lot of damage.” The village will also spend $1,537,000 this year to build a new town hall and renovate the municipal garage as part of its three-year capital works program.

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