Montreal projecting a modest $62million surplus for 2016

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    The city of Montreal is projecting a slim surplus of $62.5 million for fiscal 2016, based on figures from the first eight months of the year ending Aug. 31.

    Most of the surplus will come through a reduction in expenses that were forecast in the city’s $5-billion overall budget, presented last November.

    The city’s expenditures are expected to be $58.7 million less than expected, primarily because of a reduction in the amount of overall salaries paid out, and less money spent on snow clearing, gas and garbage collection. The city spent $12 million more than anticipated on police overtime, principally for traffic detail around construction sites.

    The city is projecting its revenues will be $4.1 million over expectations, thanks in part to tax revenues coming from higher-than-expected real-estate growth. Revenues from parking and traffic tickets collected by police and city workers is projected to be $19 million less than anticipated.  

    Given the city’s overall budget, the surplus is a thin one, said Pierre Desrochers, president of the city’s executive committee and member responsible for finance.

    “That margin could melt like snow in the sun,” he said.

    Last year at this time, the city projected a surplus of $87 million. It ended up recording a $145-million surplus. Opposition councillors note that by law, cities are not allowed to run deficits, and thus always err on the side of caution, making surpluses inevitable.