The health crisis could cause a hole of$ 215 M in the finances of the City of Quebec in 2020 and 2021. No question, however, to increase taxes to compensate for the loss. Régis Labeaume promises already a gel for 2021.
The impact of the pandemic will be ” very important “, he warned on Monday during a press briefing before the meeting of the city council.
The revenues of the RTC have, in particular, melted like snow in the sun due to a decrease in traffic of 85 % in April.
The projections, by December, are not much better. We anticipate a reduction in the number of crossings by 50 %.
The real estate market slowdown will also affect the additions to the assessment roll and the transfer tax. The parking revenues are also in decline.
Anxious to reassure those who feared that the City took the opportunity to dig more in the pocket of the citizens, the mayor says he wants to “be very clear with the people”, and confirms now that all the tax bills will be frozen next year.
Cuts to come
By the end of the year, the City will be in ” cuts “, but the services to the citizens should be spared.
“We will go with surgery […]We are going to go look around a bit. ”
The City is also hoped that senior governments renfloueront the coffers of the RTC. As for the tramway project, he reiterates that the public investment of$ 3.3 billion is a “true blessing” to revive the economy, while private investment ” contracts “.
For 2021, the fiscal challenge will be daunting because the City is anticipating a shortfall of$ 115 Million. However, the law prohibits cities from planning for a deficit. The City will leverage among others on its surplus non-allocated and its ” reserve “, totalling$ 84 Million. On Monday, it announced a surplus of 36.3 M$ for fiscal year 2019, which will be well equipped to ‘bounce back’.
The debt has fallen less quickly than expected in 2019 (- $7.9 Million) and now stands at 1 572,9 M$. But in this chapter, the City of Québec compares favourably with other major cities, insisted the mayor, opposing in addition to have increased taxes residential and commercial less quickly than elsewhere, since 2008.
“Rigorous management of the past few years, and our surplus will help us greatly to cope with the situation,” he said.
Reactions of the opposition
The leader of the opposition, Jean-François Gosselin, first held that the announcement of a freeze of fees by 2021 was “hasty and premature” in the current context, before joining. “So much the better if it is able to fulfill his promise. We’re not asking for it. ”
The adviser, Jean Rousseau, for its part, spoke of an announcement ” bold “.
Shortfall anticipated in Quebec city
Fiscal year 2020 :
- Loss of$ 40 Million to$ 65 Million for the City of Quebec
- Loss of$ 25 Million to$ 35 Million for the RTC
Sub-total : $ 65 Million to$ 100 Million
Fiscal year 2021 :
- Loss of$ 100 Million to the City of Quebec
- Loss of$ 15 Million for the RTC
Sub-total : $ 115 Million
Total for 2020-2021 : Between $180 Million and $215 M
Source : City of Quebec