When Robert Libman was Mayor of Côte Saint-Luc, the municipality had among the lowest tax rates on the Island of Montreal. In 1999 CSL residents were paying lower taxes than 81% of residents on the island of Montreal. Today only Montreal-West residents pay higher taxes, which represents only one third of 1% of the population on the island of Montreal. “This turnaround is unacceptable and is not only making it difficult for young people to afford to live in Côte Saint-Luc, but is also hard on seniors trying to make ends meet”, said Libman. “Higher taxes don’t only affect home owners but directly impact the rents of the City’s apartment building tenants”, he added. “We need creative and dynamic solutions”.
In order to make CSL affordable again, Libman unveiled a few initiatives this week, all of which are designed so as not to impact the quality of municipal services that Côte Saint-Luc residents expect and deserve.
Controlling expenses (for greater efficiencies)
- Côte Saint-Luc’s public buildings and energy efficiency
The Library and ACC are major contributors to an expanding operational budget shortfall that continues to affect the taxpayer. The ACC is over designed with wide corridors and staircases, high ceiling spaces and volumes and an abundance of common areas that are not useable spaces. More efficient means have to be explored to reduce expenses at the ACC that do not impact on programming, such as energy efficiency and whether certain common areas can be reduced in volume or consolidated.
The City owns and operates over 20 buildings and Park Chalets. The energy, heating and ventilation (HVAC) costs to maintain the buildings are exorbitant and eat a large chunk of the City’s annual budget. “One of my first initiatives as Mayor will be to engage experts to do a full inventory and quality control audit of the building HVAC systems and lighting for each public property to determine optimum energy savings, water conservation and temperature controls during working hours and at night and off-peak hours. Lowering the Air conditioning by a few degrees overnight in summer or the heating in winter can make a big difference.
All City owned buildings will have to be examined to ensure that they are being optimized from an energy point of view and greener technology.
- More energy efficiency for the fleet of City vehicles to phase in electric vehicles
- Less costly road repair budget by doing it right the first time and a strict preventive maintenance program so that the same potholes and street repairs don’t recur every year through a rationalization of the three year capital works program (PTI) regarding road repair and reconstruction.
- More rigorous and intelligent consolidation of certain personnel positions
Improving revenues (Expansion of the tax base)
- Creative ways to diversify the City’s revenues with certain programs, incentives and sponsorships, particularly with regard to recreational programs and facilities
- Encourage CP towards the relocation of the St-Luc Rail Yards which will help enlarge the tax base to counter expenses
- The ACC and the Library are extraordinary facilities that should be able to draw considerable more revenue for events, receptions and programming
- Homes should be able to benefit from City of Montreal or Quebec programs and incentive subsidies for renovations and improvements as a means to expand our tax base
Côte Saint-Luc residents deserve to see their tax rate drop to a more acceptable level and I will work with council to implement many ideas and initiatives to achieve that end”, said Libman.
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Robert Libman Jeff Joseph
As per the table below, in 1999 over 81% of the population of the Island of Montreal were subject to a higher tax rate than residents of Côte Saint-Luc.
As per the table below, over the past two years, only one third of 1% of the population of the Island of Montreal were subject to a higher tax rate than residents of Cote Saint-Luc
Robert Libman’s home property tax escalation over the past twelve years has been a whopping 43%. (See below)