St. Lazare resident questions town council about its 2016 budget surplus
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
A billboard along Highway 20 in Vaudreuil-Dorion advertises the upcoming third edition of the Festival au Galop that will be held this weekend on July 8 and 9 in St. Lazare.
St. Lazare’s budget surplus for 2016 was deemed inaccurate by resident Brian Trainor during question period at the Tuesday evening council meeting on July 4 when he claimed it included a significant non-cash item to bolster the figure, an assertion that was disputed by both Mayor Robert Grimaudo and the town’s Director General Serge Tremblay.
According to Trainor, the misleading figures come from the value of free land the town received from residential property developers for eventual road construction which apparently was categorized as other revenue in the amount of over $5 million which he claims is the reason why the town has such a significant surplus. He added that without the non-cash item the town would actually have a deficit.
Grimaudo disputed Trainor’s assertion saying it was incorrect and that the value of the town’s streets is not added as part of the surplus but is regarded strictly as equity. When Grimaudo asked Tremblay whether the town ever added an equity item as part of its surplus, Tremblay replied, “Not to my knowledge.”
“Mr. Trainor claims the value of the municipal-owned land is put in the budget on the surplus line. That is incorrect. What happens is that when all the values are calculated, then those values for non-active assets are removed and the final number for our surplus is close to $4 million. Depending on how it’s interpreted, you can make anything sound like anything when your main goal is to make the council look silly,” Grimaudo told Your Local Journal after the session.
As traffic congestion continues to increase on Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes during weekday morning and afternoon rush hours as a result of the continuing development of residential zones in the area, resident Richard Meades asked council if they knew when the roadway would be expanded to handle the additional traffic flow along the current two-lane roadway.
The town is aware of the situation but they are unable to do anything because the boulevard, also known as Highway 340, falls under provincial jurisdiction and no information has been provided from the Ministry of Transport as to when the proposed expansion will happen, said Grimaudo.
He added that the ministry’s main priority is to complete the reconfiguration of the Turcot Interchange in downtown Montreal, which could take another three to four years. “We have to make our region a priority especially with the hospital coming. We haven’t given up hope yet,” said Grimaudo.
Festival au Galop
The third edition of the Festival au Galop will be held this Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, at various venues near the town’s downtown core. “It’s going to be a great event as usual. We have some great shows planned this year,” said Grimaudo.
While the scale of the event has been cut back to two days this year, Grimaudo said the festival, which features free admission, will surely delight all equestrian lovers who live in St. Lazare and visitors from neighbouring municipalities who are welcome to participate in the festivities.
“Last year’s event was three days which was attached to Canada Day and we were able to get a subsidy for a three day festival instead of two. But after we calculated everything this year, we realized the subsidy available to extend the festival this year to three days did not compensate for the actual cost of holding a three-day event,” said Grimaudo.
More information is available at augalop.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/lancement-2017