June 25, 2020 – The City of Beaconsfield is protecting the second payment for quote-part to the Agglomeration of Montreal by legal protest, as it did in February, in order to recover the millions of dollars unduly collected by the City of Montreal from Beaconsfield citizens.
"Millions of dollars are collected in excess every year from our citizens. These are no longer taxes for services rendered, but invoices inflated by Montreal to the detriment of equity and justice" decries Mayor Georges Bourelle, who is also Vice-President of the Commission sur les finances et l'administration [Standing Committee on Finance and Administration] of the Agglomeration of Montreal.
As we approach the August 31 deadline provided in the Ministerial Order concerning the revision of the payment calculation for regional services of related municipalities to the Agglomeration of Montreal, the City of Beaconsfield guarantees its legal remedies by this payment under protest.
This ministerial order of December 18, 2019 invites the related municipalities to reach an agreement by August 31. However, the intervention of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, has so far failed to advance talks with Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration in order to settle the numerous disputes concerning the shares paid for regional services on the Island of Montreal.
"There has been no development in the situation in six months despite Minister Laforest's formal invitation by ministerial order. The City of Montreal is stalling by providing proposals which are, in fact, placebo solutions, an illusion of settlement. The reality is that the inequities remain. The Montreal administration refuses to change the situation because it is the only one who benefits from it and imposes the sums to be paid, without consultation or consideration", reiterates Mr. Bourelle.
In addition, the Montreal administration uses two different financial approaches for the Agglomeration so as to reduce its contribution and increase its revenues. When it comes to revenues, it keeps 87% based on its demographic representation, but pays according to its fiscal potential, or 82%. The related cities, including Beaconsfield, then pay 18% of the expenses, but receive only 13% of the revenues.
The cost-sharing formulas applied by the City of Montreal to the Agglomeration are inadequate, outdated and the injustices are not corrected despite knowing all the facts, says Mayor Bourelle.
In 2020, without seeing any increase in services, Beaconsfield is paying for an 11% increase in its contribution to the Agglomeration, while general shares increased by 0.7%. This single distortion of the complex share calculation methods will cost the 20,000 Beaconsfield residents an additional $2 million this year.
"According to the ministerial order, there are only two months left to resolve these complex issues. We must establish lasting solutions which will have to be applied gradually over several years in order to avoid distortions penalizing taxpayers", concluded Mr. Bourelle.