On December 9, Gatineau tabled a $443,133,000 balanced budget
I am happy to present to you Gatineau's 2010 budget. This is the first budget by the Municipal Council struck following the November 1st election. As in previous years, it is the outcome of close cooperation between Municipal Council members and the municipal administration.
Sound management of its public finances has enabled Gatineau to not only weather the economic crisis but also to maintain and improve the quality of the services offered for the public, and to protect the environment, complete major projects and minimize property tax increases.
In preparing the 2010 budget, we opted for a realistic and responsible approach that serves four main objectives:
maintaining and improving basic services for the public;
making Gatineau an ever-greener city;
moving ahead with sourcing projects; and
adopting a responsible budget.
Marc Bureau, Mayor of Gatineau
Gatineau's 2010 budget adjusts taxes by 3.1%, of which 0.6% is for the on-going implementation of the fire safety cover plan imposed by Quebec's ministère de la Sécurité publique. The composting service will be financed through the levy of $176.22 for residual materials processing.
Maintaining and improving basic services for the public
Invest $22 million in roads. In addition, $1 million will be spent on speed reduction measures, and $1.3 million on chemin du Cheval-Blanc and chemin McConnell to enhance the safety of residents.
Inject $39.2 million in the water supply and sewer systems.
Maintain snow clearing efforts by investing an additional $1.1 million, for a total of close to $15 million.
Continue with the implementation of the fire safety cover plan (SCRI). In 2010, an additional $1.9 million will be added to the $8.8 million invested since 2007. This is the year that construction will start on the new fire hall in the city's east end, at an estimated cost of $8.3 million.
Allocate $3.2 million to social housing and renovation programs. Gatineau plans to keep up the pace of construction on 700 social housing units over its next mandate. For 2010, it will unfreeze the funds needed to build 125 of these units. With regard to renovations, in 2010 Gatineau will inject $1.2 million in the Rénovation Québec program. Including the contributions by the Government of Quebec and residents, more than $3.5 million will be invested in home renovations in Gatineau's oldest neighbourhoods.
Pour $5.4 million into building maintenance, which includes $1 million for roof repairs.
Create a $500,000 reserve for the maintenance of new equipment, namely the LEED buildings.
Making Gatineau an ever-greener city
Phase in the composting service.
Increase Gatineau's assessed contribution to the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) ($37.4 million) by $3.6 million over 2009.
Complete the Rapibus, the biggest construction project in Gatineau's history.
Use the Gas Tax Fund to upgrade our water and wastewater treatment plants ($15 million).
Maintain the annual $3.5 million investment in parks and green spaces.
Pursue the tree planting program beyond the 200,000 trees that will have been planted in Gatineau by the fall of 2010.
Invest $300,000 in the Environmental Policy, namely by reviewing the noise by-law and tightening its application, conducting a municipal inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and designing a plan to reduce them, and developing a tree policy.
Moving ahead with sourcing projects
Give Gatineau a new core with a revitalized downtown by setting aside $300,000 annually for the special planning program (PPU).
Maintain subsidy programs in the form of property tax credits in force for downtown Gatineau, namely the Programme pour les nouvelles constructions résidentielles and the Programme pour les entreprises en informatique.
Inaugurate the sports centre.
Host the 45e Finale des Jeux du Québec.
Continue the reconstruction of the Robert-Guertin centre.
For a fourth consecutive year, Gatineau did not use the anticipated surplus for the 2009 fiscal year—which is expected to come to $5.9 million—to balance its budget. This is consistent with the rules of sound financial management.
Gatineau is a city in full expansion. This year, our population surpassed the quarter million mark. Over the next few months and years, we will have to prepare the infrastructure master plans, introduce a long-term financing plan to repair these infrastructures, ensure tight debt management to keep it at an acceptable level; and maintain sufficient reserves so we can address any contingency.
Municipalities have to contend with substantial needs and limited resources, which means they need access to new revenue sources. The higher levels of government must share with the municipalities any additional revenues that stem from economic growth.