The City of Montreal started off the workweek by unveiling its $6.17-billion operating budget for 2020, up 8.1% from 2019.
According to the city, 2020’s budget is geared towards improving local services and the quality of life of Montrealers and is focusing on four main priorities: mobility, the ecological transition, housing, and economic development.
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“Today, we are presenting a budget for all Montrealers,” said Mayor Valérie Plante. “One that provides for the creation of lively living environments and for the measures necessary to enable Montrealers to enjoy them. Because our population wants a city on a human scale, an ambitious city. Montrealers wish for their city to gather the resources necessary to overcome today’s challenges, and the hurdles of tomorrow.”
The city says it will devote $2.11 billion to urban planning and mobility in 2020. Major works include increasing its contribution to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) by $69M, with the integration of new buses.
Montreal will also expand the BIXI Bike network in 2020 by adding a fleet of 2,200 electric bikes.
The overall budget will also give a 55% increase ($1.4 million) to Montreal’s Mobility Squad, a city-run group that eases traffic congestion throughout the city.
The city will also continue its Vision Zero initiative in 2020, a project aimed at reducing serious injuries and fatalities throughout the city’s streets.
From an ecological standpoint, the city will focus on accelerating its shift to zero waste while purchasing and preserving green space in 2020.
As the city eyes to become a zero waste city by 2030, $487.2 million will be budgeted towards the collection and treatment of recyclables and green or food waste.
Additional funding of $2.8 million will be set out for the city’s 2020-2030-2050 climate change plan.
More than $624.7 million will also be allocated for the purchase and preservation of green space throughout the city, as well as for sports. Of that amount, $154 million will be invested in local parks, sports facilities, arenas and aquatic facilities.
Included in that budget is the $21.7 million meant for the development of six new hectares in the Parc Frédéric-Back and $13.1 million for development work to begin at the Grand parc de l’Ouest.
Montreal will “intensify its efforts” to provide 12,000 social, affordable, and family dwelling units” in 2020.
The budget includes subsidies in the amount of $140M to “expand and improve the city’s social and affordable housing market” and to support access to property, particularly for families.
The city believes that “every citizen is entitled to adequate housing within their means” and will attribute more than $202M to the city’s housing market.
In order for Montreal to become what the budgets outlines as “a leader with respect to sustainable and economic growth,” $555 million will go towards the city’s economic development.
Through agreements with the provincial government, “several initiatives will support the economic development of our territory, namely two master plans aimed at developing the rise of the East End of Montreal.”
The city’s news release concluded by noting that “significant amounts” of the budget will help improve the lives of Montrealers on a daily basis. New positions will be created to improve the city’s 311 services, to enhance and reduce wait times.
Just over $56 million will be invested into the renovation and expansion of the Maisonneuve and L’Octogone libraries and an additional amount of $1.1 million will be put towards snow removal operations.
“Citizens are at the very heart of our priorities, our planning and our decisions,” explained Councillor Benoit Dorais. “They are also the main focus of our management of public funds. Our city’s very first pre-budget consultation aimed to enable the population to take part in the financial decisions that influence their daily lives.