Laval budget: Property taxes go up as city invests in services

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Laval residents will see their next property tax bill increase by 1.4 per cent as the city focuses on improving city services like snow removal and road repairs.

"We're going to add a lot of money to give a better service to citizens of Laval," said Mayor Marc Demers as he tabled Laval's 2020 budget Monday.

The $921-million budget comes along with a three-year $1.1 billion capital works program that includes $43 million in funds for a new aquatic complex.

Nearly $50 million has been earmarked for repairs to Laval streets, with a total of $72 million invested into the city's road, sidewalk and cycling networks.

Another $85 million will be used to improve public transit.

"It's a way to try and get more and more people to use public transit or bicycle or walking to make sure we have less congestion on the road," said Demers.

The opposition says the nearly $2 million set aside to improve the city's snow removal operations falls short.

"For snow removal, they are putting a bit more money, but it's not enough. It's less than $100,000 per district," said Fabreville city councillor Claude Larochelle.

It also says a 1.4 per cent tax increase is too high – considering the city's $42 million surplus and the $50 million it recovered in funds lost to fraud and corruption under the administration of ex-mayor Gilles Vaillancourt.

That money isn't recurrent revenue, argued Demers, adding that the tax hike is still below 1.8 per cent, the projected rate of inflation for 2020.

"If we compare to other major cities, I think Laval will be (have) one of the lowest tax rates in Quebec, so I think we can be proud of that," said Demers.

Nearly $72 million will be used to pay off Laval's long-term debt, up by $6 million from 2019.