Solidarity and hope are the two themes of the 2021 budget for the Municipalité régional de comté (MRC) d’Argenteuil.

The budget was adopted by MRC d’Argenteuil council before the start of the current calendar year.  According to documents provided by the MRC, the total value of the 2021 budget estimates is $13,269,070, which includes $2,530,770 for Fibre Argenteuil, the MRC-owned enterprise that is developing a reliable broadband network to under-serviced communities.  The total MRC d’Argrenteuil budget for 2020 was $10,540,400.

The Signature-Innovation industrial space project will begin this year at the Synercité business park in Lachute as a means of attracting more industries that can operate sustainably in connection with each other.

High-speed, broadband internet expansion through Fibre Argenteuil is another major priority, particularly for the more remote regions of the MRC.

In 2021, the MRC d’Argenteuil will continue to support local economic development and tourism through various funds and grants.

Promotion of business parks, and the establishment of the Autoroute 50 and Avenue Bethany intersection as a commercial hub area are also planned in 2021.

Wetland and water resource protection, and outdoor-based tourism are major environmental priorities of the MRC in 2021, along with flood mapping along the Ottawa River.

The MRC d’Argenteuil is hoping to leverage funds from the Québec government and assist the municipalities with local road improvements this year.

A plan to create a dedicated agricultural zone in the MRC is another project that the 2021 budget emphasizes.

Youth activities and youth organizations will receive MRC support in 2021.  The budget also pledges support for the Musée Régional d’Argenteuil as it moves into new space at the former Christ Church in St-André d’Argenteuil.

The share that each of the nine municipalities will contribute to the regional government in 2021 has been frozen at the 2020 amount of $4,493,120.  According to MRC d’Argenteuil Director-General Marc Carrière, the amount each municipality contributes is based on a combination of population, property values, or how regional services are allocated.  For example, the amount each municipality contributes for the Vélo-Route cycling corridor is based on the route distance through each municipality.

“It’s always a compromise among mayors,” said Carrière.

Lachute, Brownsburg-Chatham, and Grenville-sur-la-Rouge are the municipalities that contribute the most financially to the MRC.  Grenville, Wentworth, and Mille-Isles contribute the smallest amounts.

In Québec regional governments act as a source of services and expertise for their member municipalities.  For example, a local municipality will use the engineering or environmental services of the MRC for its own projects.

The four greatest areas of expense in the budget are economic development at $1,502,070 and financial management and administration at $1,474,825.  Each represents approximately 14 per cent of the 2021 budget.  Accessible and interurban transportation, and public security is the third-largest expense at $1,358,720 or 13 per cent.  Territorial management and environment are the third-greatest area of expense at $1,139,500 or 11 per cent of the budget.

Debt payment expenses represent $199,490 or two per cent of the MRC d’Argenteuil 2021 budget.

Total property values in the MRC d’Argenteuil increased by 6.56 per cent in 2020 to approximately $4.8 billion.