Montreal posted an overall surplus of 293 million for 2021, but its debt has still increased by nearly 300 million and now reaches 6.6 billion, a variation of nearly 5% compared to 2020. The Plante administration defends, however, to have held the most “tight” management possible in the circumstances.
“We generated approximately 638 million in savings through the payment of cash investments. It is a very tight management of finances which contributes to limiting the increase in indebtedness ”, justified on Wednesday the president of the executive committee and responsible for finances, Dominique Ollivier.
The debt ratio is now “114%, 6% lower than projected in the 2021 budget”, the authorities note in their report. “This result is consistent with the strategy of the municipal administration, which exceptionally raised the debt ratio limit to a maximum of 120% for the years 2019 to 2026 and suggests compliance with this limit in the years to come. to come. This will allow a significant catch-up in the maintenance deficit of municipal assets,” it reads.
Recognizing that the challenge is great, the number 2 of Valérie Plante, however, issues several warnings. “You also have to look at the growth of our assets, which totals almost a billion dollars net, in the same breath. In cash, as Montrealers in the end, we all get rich, ”she said in response to questions from La Presse.
Montreal plans to devote just over a third of its surplus, or more than $100 million, to “responsible debt management”. “It is to continue to lower our ratios, and to show this desire that we have to move forward in the direction of sound management,” said Ms. Ollivier.
At his side, the director of accounting and financial information of the City, Raoul Cyr, also recalled that if the debt reaches 6.6 billion, “there are fixed assets which are worth approximately 13.7 billion”. “If we do the ratio, we are at 50% debt. I think that’s a reasonable ratio. Of course, we always aim for 100% payment, but we have to see that these fixed assets are used for future generations too, ”he said. “If we pay everything in cash now, future citizens will have fixed assets that cost them nothing, and it will be the citizens of today who have paid for it,” he also illustrated.
In addition, the overall surplus generated by Montreal in 2021 reached 293.1 million, of which more than 250 million will go directly to the coffers of the city center and 108 million to the boroughs.
The City reports an increase in revenue of 146 million last year. More than $80 million of this amount comes from provincial and federal government transfers, and $134 million comes from property transfer taxes. A sign that the pandemic has hit hard, the administration has however garnered 59 million fewer tickets, and 14 million less in taxes.
In addition, the “overall decrease” in operating expenses is also estimated at 94 million. An increase of 52 million in internal allocations – coming from surpluses accumulated in the past – thus made it possible to generate an overall surplus of 359 million.
The agglomeration council, however, recorded a deficit of some 66 million. Of the number, about 39 million come from losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “So we are talking about a structural deficit of 27 million. Of the overall budget of three billion, it’s 0.9% as such, “noted the director general of the City, Serge Lamontagne, swearing” to have solutions that take a few years to implement “to rebalance this budget.
“It should be remembered that the year before, we had a deficit of nearly 200 million in the agglomeration, including 80 million directly related to the pandemic. This year we are down to 66 million, ”he also rejoiced.