First meeting of new mandate held on Tuesday
The borough held its regularly scheduled monthly borough council meeting last Tuesday evening, where city officials and politicians met in person to answer questions from citizens and vote on borough initiatives. The meeting also marked the first in-person council meeting since the start of the pandemic.
This week, an extraordinary city council session was also held at the start of a meeting to present and discuss the boroughs’ budgetary estimates for 2022 as well as the ten-year program on fixed assets for 2022 to 2031. Elected officials also took questions from residents ranging from the Ogilvy crossing to the lack of street parking spaces.
The meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of each month and citizens can attend virtually or in person. Novembers’ meeting was held two weeks late, as the municipal election was held on Nov. 7. Citizens can also send in their questions to be answered by the mayor and city councillors.
Present were newly sworn-in borough Mayor Laurence Lavigne Lalonde and city councillors Mary Deros, Sylvain Ouellet, Josué Corvil and newly elected councillor for Villeray Martine Musau Muele, along with city employees.
All elected officials thanked their respective electorates for going out to vote and thanked those who supported them and granted them their trust.
The newly sworn-in council discussed budgetary previsions for 2022 that would subsequently be sent to the Executive Committee at the City of Montreal. For the coming year, the borough estimates a required budget of $61,669,100, roughly 2.2 percent above last years’ budget of $60,365,500.
“This year we didn’t dip into surpluses as much as we did last year, which is good news,” said Mayor Lalonde. Priorities this year include maintaining local tax at the same level, balancing the budget and growing local revenues especially those related to the environmental transition.
This year the borough hopes to optimize its expenses related to operations, lowering them by $433,000 while not affecting services. The borough also plans to maintain the local tax at approximately 5¢ per 100$.
A Lean budget for a large borough
“Sometimes we say that 60 million dollars is a lot of money,“ said Mayor Lalonde but specified that ”60 million to pay all city employees, to adequately maintain the network and to offer adequate services to our 148,000 residents, well its a budget that we have to manage wisely because there’s no room for improvisation.”
For every dollar spent, 18.5¢ goes to sports and recreation, 15.2¢ goes to roads and lighting and 13.4¢ to culture and libraries. The city hopes to balance services provided to citizens while also optimizing money spent on operations.
Much of the annual budget is transferred to the borough from the city centre, amounting to approximately 48 million dollars. Nearly 4 million dollars is raised locally through services like libraries and arenas, paid parking and occupation of the public domain.
Programme décennal d’immobilisations (PDI)
The new roster of politicians also presented the PDI for 2022 to 2031, which is a plan for long-term infrastructure including city buildings, roads and parks.
“Over 10-years, the borough can budget 70 million for our IDP, with 28.5 to building protection, 28 going to road rehabilitation and improvements on streets and 12.6 for the development of parks,” noted Mayor Lalonde.
The mayor added that the borough could also count on extra revenue from the City of Montreal using subsidies for specific projects. In Parc-Extension, the borough wants to refurbish the Saint-Roch pool, build infrastructure to help calm traffic and redevelop Bloomfield Park.
The adoption of the decennial plan was voted on unanimously and will be presented to the City of Montreal within the coming weeks.
Following the presentation of the budgetary prevision and the PDI, the floor was opened up to citizens for a question period. This was also the first time in over 20 months that residents were allowed back into city hall to ask questions to their elected officials.
The issue of the Ogilvy crossing was again brought up by Simon Bouchard, who asked when the crossing would open to the public. It has been intermittently blocked by temporary fencing over the past weeks.
Mayor Lalonde responded saying there had been supply-chain disruption for some of the building materials. “We’re going to look into reaching a temporary solution in order to keep it open,” she said.
The issue of on-street parking also came up during question period, with many complaints coming from Parc-Ex residents. Resident Nada Temerinski brought up the difficulty of finding parking on Beaumont around Champagneur even with newly-implemented reserved parking. She also alleged that a mechanic shop used the street to work on cars.
Mary Deros responded saying she was aware of the situation and had herself seen the mechanic shop take up residential parking. “The information with pictures has been sent to the services, the inspectors should be doing their work anytime soon, hoping that the garages will respect to do the work in their garages and not take all the parking from the citizens,” Deros said.
The next borough council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec 14, 2021. Residents can either tune in virtually or attend in person, space permitting.