No property tax increase in 2021 for Saint-Lazare
By John Jantak
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Saint-Lazare council adopted its 2021 municipal budget that freezes residential property taxes next year in an effort to help offset the financial difficulties many residents are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saint-Lazare residents will not see an increase in residential property taxes for 2021. The announcement was made during a special session of council on Tuesday evening, December 15 that also introduced the town’s operating budget for the new year and its triennial capital works program.
Council decided to allocate its anticipated $2 million surplus to the 2021 budget. It also received financial assistance in the amount of $1,680,440 from the provincial government to compensate for lost revenue and additional expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The budget was prepared with the intent to avoid tax increases, particularly in regard to the difficulties faced by many taxpayers during the current pandemic.
Provincial government assistance
“We were faced with a situation where we know there are a lot of people that the last thing they needed this year is a tax increase. We know what COVID-19 has done to a certain segment of our population and we managed to avoid an increase completely. I’m pleased with that,” Mayor Robert Grimaudo told The Journal via telephone after the council meeting adjourned.
“What helped is that we received a nice cheque from the Quebec government. I understand all the municipalities received their own cheques. I appreciate that very much. This definitely helped us balance our budget. It’s a huge help,” Grimaudo added.
Lower interest rates
To help ease the financial hardships many families and residents are facing as a result of the pandemic, the town has also reduced the interest rate charged for late payment of taxes, lowering it from 18 per cent to nine per cent. “This will help to lighten the burden,” said Grimaudo.
The city will also allow residents to pay their tax bill in nine installments instead of the standard three in 2021 but at a slightly higher interest rate. Information will be included when residents receive their tax bill in January.
The mayor also thanked council and the town’s administration for all their work to deliver a budget that should bring financial relief to citizens who need it most.
“All the councillors worked very hard on the budget and they were very involved. It’s not an easy thing to do when you have to do your budget meetings on Zoom and via email. It’s a lot easier to do when you’re sitting around,” said Grimaudo.
“There are no important services that have been cut,” he added. “We’ve managed to balance the budget and have a zero percent tax increase even though snow removal costs have increased substantially this year.”
Helping people cope
Councillor Brian Trainor reiterated the mayor’s assertion that the town’s 2021 budget was tabled with the intent of helping people to better cope during these uncertain times.
“We can all be proud of the effort we put into this budget and I’m confident our residents, most of them anyway, will be satisfied with the result, especially given the challenging circumstances as a result of the pandemic,” said Trainor.
Grimaudo advised people to stay safe over the holidays. “When it comes to the pandemic we know there’s light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine and all. But we still must be extremely careful and stay safe. I wish everybody health over the holidays and a Happy New Year.”
Complete budget details and the triennial plan are available on the town’s website at