Austerity measures for Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s 2015 budget “Government cuts force us to take the brunt of it,” Mayor Hawa

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By Kevin Woodhouse
www.thesuburban.com

With an expected loss of revenue of almost $700,000 for the next fiscal year, half of which is directly from the provincial government’s austerity measures, the small city of Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s discretionary budget will be very low for 2015.

As the Liberal government makes various cuts at the provincial level, the measures developed in Quebec City are having a trickle down effects for Ste. Anne’s as school cuts to CEGEPS, elementary, high school and university institutions have a direct effect on the city’s coffers.

“This is huge loss of revenue for us because with a $7.2 million for our local budget, 60 per cent of those costs are fixed so our discretionary budget will be slashed,” Mayor Paola Hawa told The Suburban.

As a way to reduce costs, the city administration began preparing the budget process last May and while it was close to finalizing the budget, the latest numbers will have to be looked over a final time before presenting the budget to the public tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Harpell Hall.

“There will be no proposed cuts for direct services to citizens,” Hawa said. “We will have to rethink public events. There will have to be less of them in smaller venues. I would love to have more services for people and it is unpleasant but government cuts force us to take the brunt of it.”

The city also has to pay their share of the upcoming T intersection for Exit 41, a cost of $1.1 million for Ste. Anne de Bellevue as well as $250,000 left to pay for all of the re-construction work done on the main street over the last few years.

As of press time, Hawa could not offer exact numbers regarding tax increases but noted that the Montreal agglomeration fees will be rising 1.5 per cent.

“We’re not happy with the situation,” said the mayor.

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