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The year 2020 took everyone by surprise, both here and elsewhere. It also played havoc with the Town’s budget forecasts. Fortunately, 2021 will tell a different story. The revenue and spending challenges that the pandemic presents to Mount Royal are now better understood. We are also better prepared to handle them. On December 7, we released our 2021 budget, which totals $106.2 million and ensures work will continue on the Town’s various projects, all without penalizing residents.

Specifically, Council has succeeded in limiting the increase in the residential property tax rate to 1.16% for the new year. Despite that, the Town still plans to open the new public plaza in Town centre between the Laird and Cornwall bridges. It will also create a new, much anticipated park in the Bates/Ekers neighbourhood, add a new BIXI station to the existing network and give the skatepark an extensive makeover, bringing it up-to-date. In addition, based on the results of its 2019 consultation, the Town will renovate the Mohawk Park chalet.

Construction will begin this spring on our most consequential project, the sports and community centre. The call for tenders opened last month and the contract should be awarded in February or March. In the meantime, work on the underground parking lot that the Rossy Foundation has generously offered to the centre’s future users is progressing at a pace that’s encouraging to see. The Foundation is managing all the work and doing a terrific job at it.

What has been left out of the budget – because there are too many unknowns – are the Town’s traditional mass gatherings. Summerfest and the Multicultural Fair, for example. These are our most popular events. They are also among the most demanding and costly to organize. What’s more, they don’t comply with the health guidelines imposed in response to COVID-19. From that standpoint, the first part of 2021 does not look to be very different from 2020. As far as anyone can tell, large gatherings will be banned for some time to come. It will be a happy day when we can again hold our Summerfest. Maybe that will be in 2022. But until then, we’ll have to do without it.

At the end of the day, the 2021 budget aims to be responsible, flexible and balanced. Along with the financial assistance received from the provincial government, for which we are most grateful, it is years of prudence and foresight that have enabled us to emerge from the annus horribilis that was 2020 relatively unscathed. The 2021 budget embodies the same prudence and foresight. For us, it is clearly an approach that works.

You will find Town of Mount Royal’s 2021 budget online. I encourage you to check it out.

Philippe Roy

Mayor

90 Roosevelt Avenue

Mont-Royal H3R 1Z5