Despite divided opinions municipal council rallies to adopt the 2024 budget
On December 5, Gatineau’s municipal council gathered to vote on the 2024 Budget. During the week-long budget discussions that took place from October 30 to November 3, there were many differing opinions which continued until very shortly before the budget was adopted. The council was able to rally together to approve the budget.
“The budget is a reflection of our attention to citizens,” said France Bélisle, Gatineau Mayor. “I felt a sensibility around the face of the current economic context, which we are all confronting. Most importantly this budget allows us to not only maintain the level of service but to improve it.”
Despite this, the majority of the council, including Action Gatineau councillors, came together to approve the 803.5 million dollar budget. The only councillors that opposed the budget were Mike Duggan, Pointe-Gatineau councilor, Edmond Leclerc, Buckingham councillor, and Steven Boivin, Aylmer Councillors.
“I voted against the budget because it creates a major delay in the maintenance of our infrastructure, which is sorely needed, especially in Aylmer. I would have liked more money to rebuild our roads and build new sports facilities. I'll continue to push for that,” said Boivin.
The trio were the only councillors to vote in favour of Duggan’s proposal to increase taxes from the proposed 2.9% to 3.4% for residential and 3.9% to 4.4% for non-residential. They voiced that this would be a way to make more money for the needed infrastructure. This proposal was rejected by the rest of the council.
The executive committees made 45 recommendations that were discussed during budget discussions, and many amendments were proposed throughout the week.
“As for the propositions from Action Gatineau, honestly it improves the budget and I am happy with the propositions that were made,” said Daniel Champagne, Versant councillor and executive committee president.
Some of the major investments include 190 million over the next four years for roads. It is important to note that currently, asphalt costs three times more than it did in 2019. There was 14 million added to the infrastructure budget which totals at 101 million. Over these funds, 18 million spread over three years will be dedicated to fixing the yellow water issues some residents are experiencing in various areas of the city.
The two categories that received the most funds from the budget, 17% of the budget went to police and fire safety which equates to $136.5 million. Public works received the other largest amount at 16.2% of the budget equating to $130.1 million.
New waste management fees will now be $156.44, an increase of $6.59. Surplus garbage tags are also increasing in price from $.50 to $2.15.