St. Laurent council at its October public meeting adopted a $73.7 million borough budget for 2021 and a $97 million 10-year capital plan for 2021-2030 for upcoming projects.
The latest budget is $1,263,500 more than the 2020 budget. From the last surplus, "a total of $344,200 was used to balance the budget and cap the local tax index at two percent, the estimated inflation rate for 2021," a borough statement says.
As well, the 10-year capital plan replaces the usual three-year capital plan, to "offer greater flexibility for priority project development."
“Despite the pandemic, St. Laurent’s administration has adopted a solid budget that will allow it to pursue the major projects launched in recent years that strive to ensure a quality living environment for its citizens,” stated Mayor Alan DeSousa. “Moreover, this budget demonstrates that borough finances are in order and our administration is poised to stay the course."
DeSousa added that the borough has "made an extra effort to control costs with the specific objective of limiting the financial and other repercussions of COVID-19 on the population.
"This has enabled us to inject the funds required to move forward with the actions on our snow removal plan and the major TOD (transit-oriented development) Bois-Franc development in anticipation of the arrival of the REM [light-rail transit]. Following the difficult months endured by our residents due to confinement, we also decided to offer them an incentive to take care of themselves by freezing the rates for sports and recreation activities offered under our management in 2021."
As well, for the final year of a three-year $1.7 million 2019-21 snow removal plan, St. Laurent will "create a sixth snow removal sector, hire blue collar employees, lease additional machinery, and acquire more equipment, among other things."
DeSousa added that while St. Laurent withstood COVID-19 without financial setbacks, the borough still needs a solid recovery plan in place.
“To preserve its assets and effectively support the recovery of the community, towards the end of 2020 and into 2021, St. Laurent intends to conduct an in-depth reflection on this new reality," he explained. “In particular, this process will assess local services and citizens’ expectations. With this exercise, we are striving to acquire a municipal recovery plan that will effectively support the recovery as well as community efforts with respect to social and economic development in a context where we uphold the principles of sustainable development."
Other facts from the 2021 budget:
• The transfer from the City of Montreal is $54,605,700, while income from local taxes will be $13,896,200 and income from local fees will be $4,842,000. The allocation from the surplus is $344,200.
• Expenses include general administration ($10,822,700), planning and development ($5,638,400), environmental health ($5,532,700), recreation and culture ($30,429,900), and health and well-being ($1,468,000), public security($1,355,100), and transport ($18,441,300).
Priorities for 2021 include:
• "Continue the citizen experience improvement project with the launch of a dedicated app for citizens."
• "Continue the TOD Bois-Franc project with the preparation of a special joint urban planning program with the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough."
• "Continue the development of the Jules-Poitras school and community hub project by ensuring, among other things, the necessary financing."
• "Review the snow removal sectors by adding a sixth sector to improve operations."
• "Upgrade various aquatic facilities."
• "Complete the modernization of the Raymond Bourque Arena."
The 2021 budget and the Borough of Saint-Laurent’s PDI 2021-2030 will be forwarded to Montréal City Council for imminent adoption.