Montreal turns to residents for input as city officials prepare 2021 budget

Montreal to turn to public for input on next year’s budget
WATCH: The COVID-19 crisis has left no one immune. Faced with hefty expenses and lower than anticipated revenue, the city is preparing it's next budget and it is asking citizens to weigh in. Global's Tim Sargeant has the details.

A new online survey has been launched by the City of Montreal, requesting input from residents on the island as officials prepare the 2021 budget.

The survey is designed to help the city write a budget in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the survey, a committee of experts recommends the city run a budget deficit in 2021 in anticipation that revenues will be down while expenses will increase.

No one from the city responded to multiple requests from Global News for comment, but one of the vice-chairs on the city’s finance commission claims a budget deficit is a bad idea.

Read more: Property taxes go up slightly in Montreal’s 2020 budget

“We will inevitably have to pay the tab down the road. So we’re not doing anyone any favors by projecting a deficit budget and I don’t think that’s a smart idea,” Alan DeSousa, Saint-Laurent Borough Mayor told Global News.

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Montreal city expenses have been rising in recent years and the Mayor of Beaconsfield doesn’t expect 2021 to be any different.

“With COVID, there’s no doubt that I would expect expenses will be over budget for 2020 and that will have to be picked up again next year,” Georges Bourelle told Global News.

Local community groups call on City of Montreal to defund police department
Local community groups call on City of Montreal to defund police department

Bourelle is also upset that the survey is available in French only.

“There’s a very large percentage of the population that is Anglpophone. And to me it’s disrespectful to ask the Anglophones in the agglomeration to reply to the survey in French,” he said.

The owner of a lingerie boutique with shops in NDG and Pointe-Claire fears property taxes for her business will increase next year.

“What I would love to see is obviously a reduction in municipal taxes for small business. Realistically I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Debbie Donelle, owner of DEBra Lingerie, told Global News.

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The survey is available until Aug. 23rd, while the budget is expected to be introduced in November.

A copy can be found online.