Its been a hot minute since Valérie Plante's name has come up in my news feed.
No word of a lie, I've been watching and waiting for new stories to come up like she's a hibernating animal just coming out of a winter slumber.
For the past while, all the relevant Plante, Projet Montreal and Montreal politics news stories have been surrounding the city's annual budget.
READ ALSO: 10 Easy Summer Jobs For Montreal Students
Though Plante still seems to be laying low (at least to me), with last night came some interesting news.
If you recall, when the annual budget was unveiled by Valérie Plante and Projet Montreal, a lot of locals were extremely pissed off with her as she broke her promise of not raising property taxes above the standard rate of inflation.
If you don't know, she raised property tax by 3.3%. The standard rate of inflation was 2.1%.
A surplus of $139.5M in Montreal's budget was found while reviewing the 2017 budget, which was tabled by the Montreal administration yesterday evening.
Montreal's executive committee chair, Benoit Dorais, has reported that "extraordinary factors" explain the surplus in the 2017 financial report.
The report states that unexpected additional revenues of $313.6M are one of the main reasons for the surplus. You can read the full financial report right here (in French).
Dorais notes a "sharp increase" in government transfers of $105M, a robust real estate market and revenues from licenses and permits that have all factored into the found extra money.
This information led the opposing party to come out and issue a statement, also yesterday evening, that is very telling and pretty harsh towards Plante and Projet Montreal.
"[Plante] knew all this information, she lied to Montrealers. This tax hike was absolutely not necessary." is what Lionel had to say about Plante and Projet Montreal. Source.
Surplus global de 139M$ à la Ville en 2017 loin du déficit appréhendé de 358M$ quelques jours après l’élection: la mairesse Plante « ne sait pas de quoi elle parle, ne comprend pas ce qu’est un déficit ou a menti à la population » -chef d’Ensemble Montréal Lionel Perez #polmtl pic.twitter.com/n7yhNJl6GL— Benoît Chapdelaine (@B_Chapdelaine) April 19, 2018
Apparently, Projet Montreal plans to disperse the extra funds into 4 main areas of Montreal
$45M to snow-related matters (really?) and the rest will absorb the agglomeration deficit, managing boroughs and implementing measures in the city's budget.
I for one would like to see some major work put into the Sud-Ouest roads (and other boroughs that suffer issues as well).
I would love to see more time and money invested in gender equality, LGBTQ+ equality and building the relationships with the community as a whole - including and especially so to the Montreal SPVM.
I would also like to see more money invested in local startups, businesses and products - which does seem to be happening. I am all for made-in-Montreal ventures.
Then again, I am (admittedly) rather ignorant to a lot of these issues, and my opinions may be a little biased to my own feelings.
What do you think? How should the city of Montreal use this "extra money", and use it well?