Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand is urging Côte des Neiges-NDG residents, particularly tenants, to attend the Dec. 11 Montreal council meeting, saying they will be negatively affected by the 2020 city budget expected to be passed that day.
Rotrand, in a message to the media last week, warned that tenants will “suffer excessive rent increases” by what he says is “out of control spending” by the ruling Project Montréal party.
“A perverse impact of the new evaluation roll is that the buildings that rise the most in value are apartment buildings,” Rotrand wrote. “The city budget will definitely spur rent increases, thus hitting many low income people.”
The Snowdon councillor argued that as Projét Montreal members “gushed” over the budget, “it is likely to be adopted without amendment on Dec. 11 when council reconvenes.”
Rotrand wrote that the budget features a $463 million spending increase, an 8.1 percent hike over last year.
“Due to one-time injections of provincial and federal government subsidies this year, the impact on tax bills will, thankfully, be less than the 8.1 percent cited above, [and] I note that in our borough of CDN-NDG, the average tax bill will rise by a still very substantial 3.1 percent,” he added. “We have a new tax evaluation roll for 2020-2022 and the properties that have grown the most in value and thus face the largest tax increases are apartment buildings. This is a citywide phenomenon, but is particularly noticeable in our borough....Fortunately, council has spread out the evaluation increase over three years.”
Rotrand wrote that “despite this temporary relief, the average apartment building in Cote des Neiges — Notre Dame de Grace will see its tax bill rise 5.5 percent in 2020.
“Tenants don’t pay taxes directly to the city. but property taxes are a component of their rent. The Rental Board, which each year publishes the figure which it allows for rent increases, will permit landlords more than the average if their taxes rise above the proposed norm. This is the third year in a row that the city budget will provoke rent increases considerably above the rate of inflation.”
Rotrand added that, in his analysis, “even if next year, the 2021 budget is frozen at the same level, the decisions taken in this current budget will continue to impact tenants.
“I believe that there are only two possible solutions to help tenants faced with larger than expected rent increases. The first is new fiscal tools which would see apartment buildings taxed at a lower rate than are other properties. This would require a new provincial law and a major change in orientation by the National Assembly and is unlikely any time soon. The second option would require the city to rein in spending. That requires a change in orientation from the current administration.
“It may have an impact on the administration to hear directly from the milieu how low income people’s lives are impacted by big spending hikes.”