Lower tax rates for Rigaud residents in revised budget
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
The projected cost of Rigaud’s organic waste material collection program attracted the attention of resident Victor Bulhoes.
Rigaud residents can look forward to a lower tax rate increase for 2018 thanks to a reworked budget that was presented to 115 attendees on Monday, February 26. Homeowners will now see their 2018 tax bill increase by anywhere from 2.21 to 4.6 per cent depending on the sector of town they live in and the associated municipal services their respective area receives. The budget information meeting recapped the January budget presentation and presented a detailed analysis of the ensuing revision.
Spending cuts were at the heart of the lower rates. An 11 percent reduction to the town planning and territorial development budget and a cut of 6.5 per cent to leisure and culture activities means the seasonal farmers’ market, Marché Champêtre, will not happen in 2018.
“Some of these activities have a lifespan,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. in an interview Tuesday, February 27. He described how participation in the farmers’ market on the part of vendors and attendees had diminished over the years.
“A lot of families are looking to feed themselves as economically as possible,” he said noting that purchasing locally grown organic food has an associated cost. Other activities, such as the popular Glisse et Réglisse winter festival could also feel the fiscal pinch.
Collecting organic waste material
The 2018 budget also includes the estimated cost of implementing an organic waste material collection program for composting pegged at $344,660. The program, initially focused on residential addresses, includes the purchase of brown bins and is scheduled to begin in September 2018. Resident Victor Bulhoes was critical of the cost of the program. The mayor responded by saying it was part of the Quebec government’s larger scale plan to reduce the amount of garbage collected in the black bins that ends up in landfills or incinerators.
“When we had our public consultation here in Rigaud, about three people showed up,” Gruenwald pointed out.
“Several municipalities in the region have gotten together for the collection contracts,” he said, adding, “The Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) has already put in place a composting platform that we will use unless we use a digester that is being developed in Saint-Justine-de-Newton.” He said the digester project was currently ‘under wraps’ until construction is complete but its end product would be a marketable fertilizer.
Water treatment systems
Both Gruenwald and Director General Chantal Lemieux emphasized the need for Rigaud to upgrade and expand its water treatment systems.
“Currently, we are at full capacity for our systems,” said the mayor. “We cannot add any more housing developments or industry unless we revamp the system.” He said it was crucial to the infrastructure for Doctor Oscar Gendron Industrial Park.
“We can’t rely on the residential sector to support the town. We need industry.”