Average Laval property tax bill to be 4.8 per cent higher next year

According to budget, houses worth $440,742 to be billed $162 more in 2024

Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer.

Although Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer announced the 2024 property tax rate recently while emphasizing that the hike is less than the rate of inflation, there’s no getting around the fact it’s a whopping 4.8 per cent increase, even though that will only translate into $162 more on a house worth $440,742.

Costs to be cut

In order to make ends meet next year, some serious cost-cutting lies ahead, according to a statement issued by the mayor’s office. To get there, Laval will be seeking new sources of revenue and ways to streamline operations.

The administration maintains that a few dozen millions of dollars in savings have already been achieved through close scrutiny of the city’s expenses, without cutting into residents’ services at this point.

Although the 2024 budget will only be tabled next month, the mayor has already revealed that one way to keep expenses down next year will be “greatly limit” new employee hirings, following up on a policy the city followed last year.

$300 mil. project axed

The city isn’t concealing that a major casualty of the cuts is the cancellation of a biomethane waste processing plant project that had been scheduled to start next year. The City of Laval won’t have to worry for now about the $300 million cost, even though that probably would have been paid out gradually over many years.

“Our administration made every effort to make sure taxes were under inflation, but without compromising services to citizens,” Mayor Boyer said. “We are proud of the rigor shown in this budgetary exercise and the efficiency ever since our arrival in 2021. Once again this year, we were able to find a responsible equilibrium to maintain taxes at their lowest, without having to cut services all the same.”

Some budget highlights

  • A special tax on water infrastructure will increase from $72 to $73;
  • The tarif for water service will rise from $321 to $337, representing a $16 increase for all households;
  • A tax will be introduced to help for the City of Laval’s contribution to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM). The average household will pay $232 for this.

At least one of Laval city council’s opposition parties, Action Laval, reacted negatively to news of the city’s latest budget.

It’s all about taxes

Action Laval’s interim-leader Achille Cifelli, as well as councillors Aglaia Revelakis (Chomedey), David De Cotis (Saint-Bruno), Paolo Galati (Saint-Vincent-de-Paul) and Isabelle Piché (Saint-François) noted the Boyer administration had chosen to peg the ARTM tax to property values, bringing $52.6 million in revenue to the city.

“When the mayor talks about diversifying sources of revenue, what you need to understand is that he’s talking about new taxes,” said Cifelli. “Regardless of what shape the tax comes in, it will always come out of the same pockets, those of the citizens.” In the meantime, he municipal services and the city’s priorities “are abandoned,” said Cifelli.

Debt service costs up

“The citizens are already up on anger over services they are not receiving from the city,” said Galati, adding that he receives calls daily on that issue. He said the 4.8 per cent increase won’t go over well, “especially during an economic slowdown,” according to Galati.

Action Laval pointed out that the new budget increases the cost of debt servicing for capital works projects substantially.

“While we are currently undergoing a housing crisis, and our sewers need an investment of $600 million, and while the population are demanding services nearby in their districts, the mayor persists with projects downtown which don’t meet the needs of citizens,” they said. “The mayor’s choices are disconnected from the reality of the citizens,” said De Cotis.