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Demerged surburban cities cry foul over Montreal agglomeration payments

Demerged surburban cities cry foul over Montreal agglomeration payments
Canada
For the first time in its history, the City of Pointe-Claire will send more than half — 51 per cent, precisely — of its total revenues to the urban agglomeration of Montreal for shared services.

Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere complains he’s getting a raw deal from the city of Montreal.

“We don’t see the service that we’re paying for so it’s a little bit of a slap in the face.”

In 2019, Pointe-Claire will be among six of the 15 demerged cities and towns on the island of Montreal that will pay more than half of their total tax bills to the central city to help pay for shared services. These shared services include police and fire departments, water and infrastructure work, and public transit services.

As a result, surburban mayors are calling out the city over the steep payments.

“Make it fairer, more fair across the board and justify exactly what we’re paying for,” Belvedere said. “Justify the facts.”

Montreal West mayor and president of the Association of Suburban Municipalities Beny Masella agrees with Belvedere. He argues many suburban municipalities pay too much.

“It’s reached its limits,” he said.

Masella says billing should be based on the amount of public services the 15 suburban municipalities receive, not on property values.

“We’re of the opinion that we don’t think that everything should be billed by evaluation,” he said. “Because a town happens to have a high evaluation, does that mean they should be paying more for public transportation?

“Let’s talk about the amount of services they’re getting and base it on that.”

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she has set up a committee to look into changing the sharing formula, but she reminds the suburbs that the city still foots most of the bill for the entire island.

“It’s based really on the proportion of population in the different cities, including Montreal and all the [suburban municipalities],” she said.

Masella, for his part, said he plans to send his plans for a revised sharing formula to Plante by the end of the month.
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