Pontiac council budget 2014 - 1.3% tax increase
Mo Laidlaw
The Pontiac budget of $6.9 million was adopted on 14 January 2014 before the regular council meeting at the Luskville community centre. About 30 members of the public were present. This year a comparison with the 2013 budget was among many available handouts.

In the public question period Debbie Tremblay queried the $3 million indicated as capital expenditure for the “Community Centre”, in 2016 (in the three year program). “Is this for the Luskville community centre situated in the centre of the municipality?”, she asked. Mayor Roger Larose explained that provincial funding to replace the Quyon community centre (Lions Hall) has been turned down. “Replacement was planned to start in 2013, and the community raised $111,000 towards the cost. This project is going to be reassessed completely and the $3 million is likely to be reduced, although it includes equipment as well as the cost of a new building. The Lions Hall is in poor repair and not large enough for community events. For an infrastructure project like this, one expects one third from each level of government: federal, provincial and municipal (including local fundraising).”

James Eggleton suggested that a central swimming pool and arena are more important than a community centre in Quyon “at the end of the line.” He also questioned the 13% penalty payable if taxes are not paid on time. Mr Larose told him that 13% is the norm. “If you pay on time you don’t pay any interest.”

Madeleine Carpentier asked about water and sewer infrastructure costs. These are paid 75% by taxpayers in Quyon, who also pay service charges. Councillor Dubé clarified that the water mains in Quyon need to be repaired or replaced. “30% of treated drinkable water is lost in system leaks. One short section between the treatment plant and rue de Clarendon loses 50% of treated water. There is also a policy to reduce water use by residents.”

The details (totals are rounded):
Overall tax increase 1.3%. Total evaluation is up 12% to $724 billion (this includes new construction). Residents with more or less than the average increase in evaluation will have tax increase more or less than 1.3%. (My evaluation went up 7%, my tax bill went up 9%.)

Spending on roads, which includes snow clearing etc) is up 7.8%, to $2 million.
Total Public security (fire, police, and animal control) is up 8.8% to $1.8 million.
MRC des Collines police costs are up 4.2% to $1.2 million.
Fire department costs are up 14% to $465,000.
The public health budget is up 17% to $1.2 million. This includes water, sewers, garbage and recycling.
General administration is down 2.5% to $1 million.
Town planning, zoning and development costs are down 21% to $403,000.
Annual interest on loans to pay for paving roads, the sewage lagoon, fire trucks, grader and so on, amounts to $274,000, a 19% increase.
Costs for arts and recreation, which includes parks, libraries and community centres, are down 29% to $240,000.
Service charges for garbage have gone down 5.5% (now $217.59 for residences).
In Quyon, water charges have increased by 26% (to $324.53 for residences), and sewage charges have increased 31% (to $235.48 for residences).

How does this compare with the region?
In most of the rest of MRC des Collines taxes have increased, in order of population:
Val des Monts (population 11,025), 6% increase (made up of 2% increase in general tax and new $75 charge for emptying septic tanks).
Cantley (population 10,412), no increase in general tax, but increase of $63 for garbage pickup and disposal.
La Pêche (population 7,930), 3.4% increase (about $62 for “average” house worth $226,517.)
Chelsea (population 7,067), 3.21% increase.
Pontiac, (population 5,862), 1.3% increase.
L’Ange-Gardien (population 5,339), 0.8% increase (about $16 for “average” residence worth $220,000. Service charges here are unchanged: $212 for garbage pickup and $107 for emptying septic tanks).
In Notre-Dame-de-La-Salette (population 752), a slight increase in general tax is offset by decreases in service charges, so most residents will see a small reduction overall.

In Gatineau the median tax bill increased by 2.9% or $67, taking into account a reduction of $4.60 in the fee for garbage management

Previous reports are archived at: http://www.heritagepontiac.ca/Municipality 
The Action Pontiac blog at http://actionpontiac.blogspot.com has other local news and information.