2013 budget to lever Laval’s financial strength

By Robert Frank

Alexandre Duplessis tabled a budget, Dec. 10, which capitalizes on the Laval’s relatively strong economic position, compared to the struggling metropolis to its south.

In an exclusive interview last week, the interim mayor told The Suburban that he planned to bank on the city’s business-friendly environment to help Laval move forward.

True to his word, Duplessis delivered a financial plan for 2013 that will put the brakes on property tax increases for most Laval homeowners.

He indicated that he plans to accomplish this by lowering the property tax rate by six per cent, in order to compensate for anticipated increases in home valuations that would otherwise drive up the amount residents would have to pay. He also opted to spread the increases in valuations over a three-year period.

Though commercial property tax will increase slightly, the proposed 0.3 per cent hike is far below the expected rate of inflation of two per cent.

In contrast, Montreal non-residential property owners will soon see their tax bills go up by average of two per cent.

In addition, Duplessis vowed to add new municipal services and to improve existing ones.

Promised improvements include repairs to streets and sidewalks, snow clearing on both sides of the street throughout the city, keeping libraries open during holiday weekends and lengthening the summer swimming pool season.

He also stated that the city plans to have more civil engineering work—much of which currently is outsourced—performed in-house by municipal engineering staff.

In response to media reports that alleged Laval citizens will be saddled with construction costs for the Bell Centre arena that have ballooned to $150 million, Duplessis asserted that final price tag the arena will not exceed $120 million, and that—if any additional costs are incurred—private industry will bear the brunt of any excess expenditure.

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