Staying the Course
Here are the highlights of Gatineau's 2016 Budget.
With three budgets already under its belt, I am very proud of the key changes our Municipal Council has brought to our approach since the 2013 election. Last year's budget was the logical extension of the adoption of the Council Program, a first in Gatineau's history. We then took a stab at streamlining our priorities, and cut back the list of projects underway, made some tough choices, and adopted a specific implementation plan that would enable us to report on results, which is something we are starting to do this year.
At 2.6%, this year's increase in expenditures was the lowest since the merger, and the Commission de révision des dépenses is continuing to work with our teams on identifying savings for a second year in a row.
I am very satisfied with the tremendous discipline that will now characterize the budget process. This year, and until the end of our mandate, our main mission will be to stay the course with the priorities we set for ourselves, to follow through on projects under way, and to keep residents updated.
I am deeply grateful to all of the elected officials and members of the administration who worked on this budget. We would be more than happy to hear any questions or comments you may have.
A balanced budget of close to $564.8 million
- A $14 million increase in operating expenses, 2.6% more than in 2015:
- this is the smallest increase since the merger.
- A 1.9% increase in taxes for municipal operations:
- based on the Bank of Canada target consumer price index (CPI).
- despite this increase in property taxes, Gatineau is continuing to cut back in order to absorb a structural deficit.
- The 1% indexed dedicated tax for infrastructure catch-up continued in 2016:
- bringing the annual investment to $20 million.
- For a median residential tax account assessed at $237,700, the increase for 2016 is equivalent to 2.9% or $73.
- Last year of the fire safety cover plan:
- $42 million in investments
- a recurrent budget of $16 million
Commission de révision des dépenses et des services
- Since 2013, the Commission de révision des dépenses et des services has helped identify recurrent savings of $10.2 million, which have helped reduce annual shortfalls, including more than $5 million in the 2016 budget, representing a 0.9% decrease in spending:
- $285,000 saved through organizational restructuring;
- $1.6 million from budget cuts (conferences, representations, overtime and casuals);
- $2.1 million from efficiency gains (use of abrasives, shift to online publication, horticulture);
- $445,000 from service revisions (winter sidewalk maintenance, changes in ecocentre operating hours)
- $660,000 in savings through calls for tenders.
- An additional $5.8 million in costs avoided, with no budget impact:
- by cutting back on the use of equipment, or changing the type of equipment used;
- through organizational restructuring within existing budgetary envelopes.
Partnership with the post-secondary education network
École nationale d'administration publique (ÉNAP)
- Gatineau will help set up the Chaire de recherche en exploitation des ressources informationnelles.
- Gatineau's financial contribution will be $150,000 over three years, that is to say $50,000 annually.
- ÉNAP deliverables will be based on the municipal situation.
Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
- Gatineau's financial contribution will be $200,000 for the next five years.
- Specific agreements will be drafted for the following projects:
- Observatoire du développement de l'Outaouais (ODO).
- development of health and science programs.
The debt is under control
- Gatineau will continue to manage its debt prudently.
- Estimated at $570.5 million in 2015, the debt should decrease for a second consecutive year, by $4.2 million in 2016.
- Debt servicing is now only 12% of our expenditures, compared to 23% at the time of the municipal merger.
- More than 60% of the investment plan is paid in cash, which is unmatched by any other municipality in Quebec.
- $346 million in investments over three years, including $115 million in 2016:
- road repairs: $26.4 million
- water supply and sewer system repairs: $15.2 million
- municipal buildings: $8.8 million
- plants and pumping stations: $31 million
- residential renovations and social housing: $3 million
- active transportation development: $5.4 million
- traffic calming measures, new sidewalks and intersection repairs: $1.9 million
- A new financing strategy to increase investments in road repairs: a priority of the Municipal Council.
- Two major intervention plans on commercial arteries by 2020:
- $20 million for rue Notre-Dame
- $44 million for boulevard Saint-Joseph
- Continued efforts to obtain as much as possible from financial assistance programs run by higher levels of government for infrastructures and social housing:
- since 2007, $482 million in work completed with funding from subsidy programs.
- thanks to the different programs, more than $200 million in subsidized work will be done on plant repairs by 2020:
- wastewater treatment plants in Gatineau: $78 million
- water disinfection plants: $12 million
- water treatment plant in the Aylmer sector: $26 million
- water treatment plant in the Buckingham sector: $24 million
- modernization of the water treatment plant in the Hull sector: $31 million
- water treatment plant in the Gatineau sector: $30 million
- Continued investments to improve our performance and efficiency:
- informatics master plan: $13.7 million over five years
- upgrade of our radio communications systems: $17 million
- catch-up for our vehicle and equipment fleet: $22.4 million over five years
Summary of revenues and expenditures