- Six years in-a-row below inflation local tax increases.
- Long-term debt down 20%, since 2009. This means we pay less in interest payments and have more to spend on issues important to Hampstead residents. In fact, debt service (capital and interest payments) has dropped 28%. It is only 8%* of Hampstead’s total budget. That is 35% lower than the average for similar size towns on the island of Montreal.
- Unprecedented operating surplus of $1.6 million in 2012. We used this to pay down more debt and put aside money for future expenses.
- House prices have increased dramatically. On average, we now have some of the highest valued homes on the island, second only to Westmount. Formerly, we were behind both Westmount and the Town of Mount Royal.
Here’s How We Did It
We were the ONLY town on the island that took a $4.4 million interest-free loan to lower taxes and, instead, used it for fixing our infrastructure. I wrote to you and explained how we would use the money for what it was earmarked but take the equivalent from the budget and spend it on infrastructure.
We prioritized work on areas that would reduce annual maintenance costs and damage claims (roads, sewers, water mains and ageing equipment).
We aggressively sought grants to reduce our costs.
Then we paid down expensive long-term debt.
We also made changes to reduce garbage and increase recycling, leading to Quebec government transfers, now up to about $130,000 annually.
We improved parks, facilities and programs to encourage young families to move to Hampstead and bid up our housing valuations.
Now we are beautifying the town partly for the same reason and improving our already excellent client service.