As you may well surmise, this year's budget exercise was marked by the pandemic, an extraordinary situation that has had a tremendous financial impact on us. Nonetheless, with this last budget of this Municipal Council, we have found a way to move Gatineau forward.
As always, Gatineau is working on all fronts to defend the interests of our fellow residents, as it has since the start of this pandemic, and as it has through every one of the crises in the past few years.
Yet, beyond those crises, Gatineau's role as an indispensable collective tool manifests itself in several areas, maybe more than ever before: fighting inequality, fighting climate change, promoting economic development, overseeing infrastructure catch-up and driving crisis management, to mention just a few. Cities are on the front lines, and in spite of it all, Gatineau is moving forward.
The pandemic has had a significant financial impact, but thanks to the financial support provided by the government of Quebec, we have been spared the need to make cutbacks – which would be the worst thing to do in a time of crisis. As usual, we are guided by prudence and discipline.
This was not the first difficult year we have been through. If Gatineau has not buckled under the weight of all of these crises and upheavals, it is in large part because of the relentless work of our staff, and I want to thank them for this. It is because of them that we are able to keep moving forward on several fronts.
Thank you, and take care.
A $671.5 M balanced operating budget
Total investments: $452.6 M
The Plan d'investissements – volet maintien covers several major projects, including:
Our annual investments in road repairs have risen by 72% since 2013, from $16 M to $27.4 M in 2020 and ongoing1.
A new strategy will also be introduced to increase investment and improve the lifespan of our roads.
1 This amount will increase by $24.6 M over the next five years to cover work already approved under the Plan d'investissements – volet maintien.
For the Plan d'investissements – volet maintien (PIVM) 2021-2022-2023, 74% of investments will be covered in 2021 (cash, dedicated tax and Programme de la taxe sur l'essence et de la contribution du Québec [TECQ]), leaving only 26% to be funded through borrowing.
In order to fund all of Gatineau's services and its infrastructure investments, the budget will have to increase by $19.7 M. This tax increase is in line with the financial framework adopted by the Municipal Council further to the study by the Comité d'analyse approfondie du budget.
This will be the smallest increase since 2005 for the third consecutive year.
Ville de Gatineau has been actively involved in efforts to convince the other government levels to provide financial assistance to offset the impact of the pandemic. It is because of the assistance provided by them that Gatineau is able to comply with the financial framework adopted by the Municipal Council without reducing services or dropping infrastructure projects. An initial $29.3 M portion of the government assistance provided is applied to the 2020 budget, and the balance will cover the financial impacts of the pandemic in 2021.
Recognized for its quality of life, Gatineau is a city of 285,000 inhabitants. It is located on the north shore of the Ottawa River, and extends east and west of the Gatineau River.