By Robert Frank
Homeowners in Beaconsfield probably won’t receive their property tax bills from the city until late February this year, according to Mayor Georges Bourelle.
“There’s no choice, because Montreal has delayed [passing] its budget by one month,” he told The Suburban. “Right now we’re considering convening a special [city council] meeting on Feb. 17, to adopt our budget and the agglomeration council budget, by which time we will have enough information to do so.”
While Beaconsfielders wait to find out how much they will have to fork over to the agglomeration collective, they won’t be seeing a tax bill for their own city appear in their mailbox.
“Obviously our own billing to our taxpayers will be delayed,” Mayor Bourelle said. “Normally we would have had to pay by March 1 or thereabouts. That will be deferred until the end of March.”
He did not expect that the city would have to borrow from the bank in the meantime, to pay for day-to-day municipal operations.
“It won’t have a cash flow impact on the city,” he reassured, “because it will be in the same block of time as the delay of billing for the agglomeration, so our cash flow should not be affected unless there is a last-minute change that we’re unaware of at this point.”
No multimillion-dollar windfall
Mayor Bourelle also took issue with news reports during the holidays that the city “had received $4.2 million saving money.”
“It’s important that be clarified, because I’ve received a lot of questions from citizens asking me what we were going to do with the [purported] savings,” he said.
“In fact, we spent $5.4 million during 2013 on infrastructure maintenance,” he explained, “including the complete reconstruction of fresh water or sewage systems in one area, with the complete relining of the drinking water pipes.”
“We were simply able to recover some of those expenditures through government grants,” he added. “The federal government paid us about $750,000 in cash and the rest will be paid to us by the provincial government—over a period of ten years.”
“The grants merely reduced a very large investment but the city still had a $1.2 million outlay and needs to borrow to finance the remaining work, Mayor Bourelle said. “In 2014, we expect to go through a similar process of infrastructure investment that will cost a substantial amount of money. Hopefully, we’ll get grants again to reduce our net expenses. But no one should think that we ended up with a surplus of $4.2 and don’t know what to do with it.”
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