Mayor Marc Parent confirms: the health crisis has a significant impact on the finances of the City of Rimouski.
May 29, 2020 20h35
Updated at 22h33
City of Rimouski: the health crisis has a significant impact on finances
At its last discussion, the municipal council of Rimouski came to the inevitable conclusion that the consequences of the pandemic will inevitably impact on the finances of the City. Mayor Marc Parent confirms: “the current crisis has turned into a considerable increase in costs and a substantial reduction of income”.
In his opinion, “there is a lack to win, but the situation is still not catastrophic.” However, it ensures that its board is following the situation very closely. For now, the mayor does not want to move forward on the state of the treasury. “There is always a certain amount of volatility in our ability to predict the real impact of revenue versus spending, makes sense. One thing is certain: there are financial impacts. But, it remains to determine their magnitude. It is sure that we will keep the citizens informed when we have a good enough understanding, that it will be quite some of the numbers.”
Marc Parent ensures that he and his council are aware of the taxpayers ‘ ability to pay rimouskois. “We are working on a relaunch. I am hopeful that when the time comes to prepare the budget in 2020, there will be no nasty surprises for the citizens. But, one can not consider a reduction of taxes.”
If he says he is sensitive to the fiscal difficulties faced by some taxpayers who wish to postpone their next payment of taxes, the elected officials request to those who have the ability to pay the sums due on the agreed date, the 1st of June. “These are amounts that are needed to be able to maintain their operations. Of course, if the tax payments are not, the City shall have recourse to other means, which will increase our costs.” Mr. Parent indicates, however, that no interest charges will be charged to late registrants.
The great forgotten
The mayor of the most populous city of the East-of-Québec is pleased that the camping sites and several rental services, including cottages, will be able to restart their activities. But, he considers that there is a category of “great forgotten”: the gites. “In general, they are the property of a couple who receives, at the inside of his residence, of visitors. He is required, by law, to serve the breakfast. According to me, this is where the shoe pinches, because it is this portion that made it so that, for the moment, these people can not re-open.”
Marc Parent believes that Quebec should consider avoiding the cottages the obligation to serve the breakfast. “The period where the “couette et café” are their income, it is really during the summer season. It press! These are people who have mortgages to repay! Often, these are people who do not necessarily have access to the various provincial or federal programs of financial support. Therefore, I ask the government of Quebec of thinking to do this relief, which would allow these people to continue to operate.”
In addition to the cottages, the mayor of Rimouski, is not worried about the fate of the tourism industry for this summer. “The customer is going to change, he believes. It’s going to be Quebecers who go to visit their Quebec, may be so regional. People need to experience the feeling of having a vacation this summer. But, I think it will be just and probably tourists from the vicinity.”
Mr. Parent feels, however, a certain fear for restaurateurs, including the activities of the majority of them are paralyzed. “The City of Rimouski, we are extremely concerned by the situation of the restorers. Moreover, we invite all restaurant owners in Rimouski who have projects allowing them to increase a little their walls, to go out, have outdoor terraces, even though these terraces are then encroaching on the area of the municipal parking lot, to communicate with the department of planning. It is very, very open. We are in solution mode! […] You know that it is much less risky, when it is outside, that there is a contamination when you are inside.”
However, it is not in the cards for the town hall to make the Saint-Germain street is fully pedestrianised during the summer the city centre. But, the mayor does not close the door completely. “Everything is possible, let-t-he fall. The members of the city council have a strong determination to help the traders of Rimouski.”
House of seniors in Rimouski
Québec confirms the construction of a house of elders and an alternative to Rimouski. It is the minister responsible for Seniors and caregivers, Marguerite Blais, and minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Marie-Eve Proulx, who made the announcement Friday. The facility will accommodate 72 residents, of which 48 will be for seniors and 24 others will be adults with special needs. This mid-life “human dimension” will be comprised of six units, with air twelve places each, with individual rooms with en suite toilet and shower fitted to each resident.
The House of elders will be built on land purchased from the City of Rimouski for a sum of close to$ 700,000 by the government. Quebec has not indicated the date of the beginning of the project. “I don’t have the timelines, but it is clear that the Quebec government considers as a top priority to offer seniors the best quality of life possible,” said mayor Parent. I would tend to believe that it could go quickly. But, there are still processes that need to be put forward to be able to allow this kind of construction-there. […] The new rules of public consultation come to weigh down and slow down the process substantially.”