Municipal budget: the city has to clarify its intentions for budget cuts
Montréal, December 1, 2010 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is disappointed with the budget tabled today by the Ville de Montréal. “The budget delays decisions that should be announced now,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade.
Spending cuts will wait
“In July, the Mayor announced that he would cut spending by at least $50 million in all city departments and that his next budget would be based on a spending freeze for 2011,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Instead he announced an increase in spending in the order of 5%, combined with a 4.2% increase in the tax burden for Montrealers.”
“Two months ago the Mayor also launched, with examples in hand, a major reorganization of the municipal structure to reduce the city’s administration costs by $250 million over two years,” Mr. Leblanc said. “We’re still waiting for more: the cuts appear in the budget, but concrete measures have yet to be identified.”
“These spending cuts should translate into real gains in efficiency in the delivery of municipal services,” Mr. Leblanc said. “We need to review how things get done, increase productivity and work together for the benefit of Montrealers. City hall has to exercise its leadership with the boroughs to consolidate activities unrelated to local services to citizens in the central city.”
A positive contribution in key sectors
“The business community appreciates the positive contribution of the Ville de Montréal, which will allocate $124.4 million to economic development through programs such as PR@M-Commerce and PR@M-Industry and by supporting important strategic projects such as the Quartier des spectacles, the redevelopment of the Bonaventure Expressway, the Quartier de la santé and the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan,” Mr. Leblanc said.
“The 8% increase in the city’s contribution to public transit is an investment in the productivity and industrial base of the metropolitan area, as the Board of Trade’s study, which was released last Friday, indicated,” Mr. Leblanc said. “That said, the new tax on vehicle registration that will fund this contribution creates a disparity in the region in that it applies only to the Island of Montréal.”
“The Board of Trade is pleased with the city’s response to the recommendations of the Côté-Séguin report,” said Mr. Leblanc. “Strengthening the municipal administration’s expertise, creating an office of the comptroller general and reviewing the composition of the audit committee are all measures that will ultimately provide greater control over the city’s spending.”
A blank cheque?
“We asked that some housekeeping be done before raising taxes, but the budget tabled today does just the opposite,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Until evidence to the contrary, the Ville de Montréal is asking Montrealers for an act of faith. The Board of Trade is surprised not to see details of the plan to cut spending announced by the Mayor today, and it is impatient to see results.”
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4015