Mayoral Candidates budget priorities for the City of Gatineau
The Aylmer Bulletin reached out to each mayoral candidate, asking about their budget priorities if they are elected in the upcoming municipal election on November 7th. Their responses are listed below in alphabetical order.
- France Bélisle (Independent)
Everything I have announced has had the budget spending information available on my website. It's really important when you do financial management to think “these are my tools that I have. How can I be creative and make more happen with less?”. In June, there was a surplus of $11 million in transfer tax. This could be used for the 1% Gatineau currently puts towards infrastructure, as we have significant catching up to do when it comes to infrastructure in Gatineau.
We can be more aggressive in the search for subsidy. If elected, I will have someone dedicated to getting grants for the City of Gatineau. I also want to work with the school boards, various organizations and associations. It is important to sit down with these associations to figure out how to work together financially to get their needs met. Borrowing is also an option, which is more equitable for the population over time. When you pay in cash it is people now who pay for infrastructure that will be used for many years.
We need better work as a team, with the many possible partners to fulfill the needs of the population.
- Remi Bergeron (Independent)
I propose to build reserved lanes on the route of the projected tramway in Aylmer between Boulevard des Allumettières and Chemin d'Aylmer and to replace the tramway with articulated hybrid buses as a first step, while waiting for the arrival of electric buses. We are going to build a garage in Aylmer with electrical terminals. The route will depart from Parc-o-bus locations with an express bus service that will be able to take the Champlain Bridge towards the federal government towers in Ottawa or to reach an O-Train station.
In 2017, I proposed a looped REM (Réseau express Métropolitain) that would run between the two city centres and we would add the service to the Rapibus Taché Station to join this service. As federal officials are working from home until 2022, it would be possible to extend beyond the preliminary dates and even become permanent, which will allow us to reassess the project deemed too expensive for the density of the population served. Residential neighborhoods with no major industry in the service axes could have justified the project.
I would like to propose a total tax increase of 2.6% including 1.0% for the tax dedicated to infrastructure.
- Jean-François LeBlanc (Independent)
My financial plan includes proposals on the tax freeze, asphalting ($50 million), snow removal from sidewalks, a revenue diversification committee (+ $10 million), technological showcase and efficiency totalling nearly $70M for my first term.
Environment: an additional $4.5M over four years, $3M to pay for the Cook site. $1.5 million for greenhouse gas reduction.
Make Gatineau one of the least taxed cities in Quebec, without reducing services and without additional debt. Keep taxes below 1.7% for the remainder of the term, without exceeding inflation.
Organize the first Quebec forum on income diversification. No one has ever dared to offer this option in the past ten years and this is how I pledge to do otherwise.
I will review the processes surrounding the budget review. We need a more transparent and recurring process.
Finally, the tax freeze for the year 2022 is based on Gatineau's good financial health, 25 million surpluses in 2020 and record transfer rights anticipated for 2021. Montreal, Laval, Longueuil, Brossard, Repentigny, Verdun, La Prairie, Boisbriand have done so. Why not Gatineau?
- Jacques Lemay (Independent)
My budget priorities will be to bring together the election pledges of all candidates to help establish a financial framework that represents the new council. This framework will be the basis to ensure that the budgetary orientations will go in the direction of the proposals retained by the members of the new electoral team of Gatineau. That is to say, the mayor and the 19 councillors who will finally work towards a common goal, that of the well-being of all citizens.
This new budget will consider repairing streets and underground infrastructure, local services such as arenas, community centres and libraries.
As far as I am concerned, the increase that I will propose to advisers will be 1.9% and 1% dedicated to infrastructure, for a total of 2.9%. It is utopian to believe that a tax freeze is possible given the obsolescence of municipal buildings and the increase in the cost of living.
- Maude Marquis-Bissonnette (Action Gatineau)
Action Gatineau has tabled a complete, rigorous financial framework based on services to citizens and eco fiscality. Our budgetary priorities are known and available online on the Action Gatineau website.
Among other priorities, let us mention:
● Ecological renovations and carbon neutral residences: $30 million
● Economic recovery: $25 million
● Affordable and social housing: $25 million.
● Services to citizens: $71 million
● Adaptation to climate change: $35.5 million
● Investment in infrastructure: $190 million (50% increase in investments compared to the last 5 years)