Martin C. Barry
The owner of an average single-family home in the City of Deux-Montagnes will pay 0.82 per cent more in property taxes next year, representing an increase of around $23 for a house worth $254,000, according to the 2020 budget tabled at Deux-Montagnes city hall last week.
Avg. $2,917 tax bill
A single-family house owner in Deux-Montagnes who paid $2,894 in property taxes in 2019 will be paying $2,917 in 2020, according to the new budget.
Mayor Denis Martin’s latest budget since first being elected in 2013 allots more than $25 million to pay for expenses next year, a four per cent increase over the previous year. There were $24.33 million in operating expenses and a 1.15 per cent tax increase last year.
Debt has been reduced
While the City of Deux-Montagnes’ long-term debt load was close to $50 million six years ago, a gradual debt repayment program undertaken by the current administration over the past five years has brought the total debt down to $35 million (or $22 million as carried by taxpayers), with debt financing costs reduced by 21 per cent.
According to the mayor, Deux-Montagnes’ debt-financing costs previously accounted for up to 25 per cent of the annual budget, which was one of highest debt servicing levels reached by any municipality in Quebec. Debt-financing now accounts for 16 per cent of Deux-Montagnes’ budget, which in turn is helping to keep taxes under control, said the mayor.
Among the lowest taxes
“This is probably the lowest tax increase in the Montreal area,” he said in an interview with the North Shore News. “Since most of the cities are between 1.5 and 2.5, we’re happy to have been able to offer this to our citizens.”
According to a statement issued by the city, this was the fifth consecutive year that tax increases in Deux-Montagnes came in below an inflation rate of 2 per cent.
This was achieved despite an increase in snow removal costs in Deux-Montagnes and elsewhere in Quebec during recent winters. A portion of the city’s annual expenses incurred but not reimbursed for construction of the new anti-flood dike was also an additional budgetary challenge, said the city.
Some 2020 budget highlights
- A three-year capital construction program sets aside more than $9 million for infrastructure investments in 2020, 70% of which will be funded through grants or city reserves.
- An investment of more than $1 million in Armitage Park (corner Oka Rd. and 26th
Ave.), which will undergo a major transformation in the coming months. The park will be transformed into an intergenerational outdoor space offering attractions for the whole family.
- Deux-Montagnes Blvd. will be completely redone from the train station area further eastward.
- Renewal of wheeled equipment for the public works department, especially for snow removal and for the purchase of electric vehicles.
- A $500,000 investment to purchase blue wheeled bins to standardize those used in collecting recyclable materials throughout the city.
During the regular city council meeting after the budget was tabled, the mayor revealed that the City of Deux-Montagnes is planning to develop a new park, green space or outdoor facility, to be known as Place du Centenaire, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Deux-Montagnes’ incorporation as a municipality in 2021.
Place du Centenaire
“It’s a project we’re looking into,” he said. “We’re having discussions with certain people so we’re not ready to announce it. But it’s in the works to have a beautiful park, an area where the citizens can be close to the water. We hope to be able to announce a project for this early in the spring.”
As well, the city is in the early stages of developing a plan for a subterranean containment basin to have better control of springtime flood waters. The location could be underneath playing fields in Central Park. The mayor said plans are being developed in conjunction with the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM).