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  • Writer's pictureHunter Cresswell

Santa Green gifts property tax freeze

Chelsea adopts $21.3M 2021 budget

Mayor Caryl Green and Chelsea council delivered an early Christmas gift to Chelsea residents when they unanimously approved of a 2021 budget that includes a property tax freeze.

This is the first year since 2004 that property taxes didn’t go up.

“I’m very pleased to announce that in 2021 there will be no increase in the property tax rate. The MRC [des Collines]’s new three-year assessment role for 2021 through 2023 showed an average increase in taxable assessment of six per cent across all categories. For this reason the council voted in favour of a six per cent decrease in the property tax rate for both residential and non-residential properties,” Green explained during the council’s special Dec. 15 budget meeting.

The Chelsea council on Dec. 15 unanimously adopted a $21.3 million budget for 2021 during a Zoom meeting. Screen capture image
The Chelsea council on Dec. 15 unanimously adopted a $21.3 million budget for 2021 during a Zoom meeting. Screen capture image

The $21.3 million budget includes: $78,000 for the master plan revision; $10,000 for a teen gathering place – once the pandemic is over – and youth infrastructure; $21,000 to finalize the community trail and an online public consultation on river access in early 2021; $150,000 to study roads and future needs for Old Chelsea; $6 million in salaries and benefits, and $150,000 for a green municipal fund.

“The council decided to establish a green municipal fund that will allow the municipality, as well as organizations or residents, to obtain financial leverage and municipal support for environmental sustainable development or active transportation initiatives,” Green explained about the $150,000 fund.

The budget also included $4 million in debt service payments in 2021, which makes up about 18 per cent of the $21.3 million budget.

Green also announced two new trail projects in Old Chelsea that will start next year: one will connect Padden Lane to Hwy 5 and another will connect the Hendrick Farm housing development to Chemin Mine. She also said more work will take place on the community trail and the trail from the Chelsea Creek housing development to Gatineau.

After Green’s budget speech, she opened the floor, via Zoom, to questions from residents, but none were submitted. Then she opened it up for councillors to add their thoughts. They all thanked municipal staff for their work on the budget and most seemed happy with it.

Ward 2 councillor Pierre Guénard announced that he will not be running for reelection in 2021.

“It’s really with satisfaction that over the past eight years we enacted many things for the municipality to develop active transport and also develop a lot for families and the community,” he said in French.

Guénard added that it’s fantastic that Chelsea started a green fund.

Ward 1 councillor Simon Joubarne said he’s satisfied with the budget and initiatives in his ward.

“I can’t keep silent about being a little disappointed that the community trail isn’t connected,” he said in French, referencing a large landslide along the railway that the municipality is trying to figure out how to build around.

He also said that he’d like to see the community trail connected to Gatineau one day.

With regard to the green fund, Ward 4 councillor Kay Kerman said, “We need those funds to put our money where our mouth is, there’s no better way of saying it, to protect our environment.”

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