Tremblay administration under fire as mayor takes break
Mayor Peter Trent says reconsideration of tax hikes is too late
Mayor of Westmount Peter Trent says the city's reconsideration of the proposed tax increase is too little, too late.
"You know a budget is a 12-month process. In two weeks time all you're really gonna do is push stuff off for next year," Trent said.
The Trembaly administration said Thursday the city is ready to reconsider the property tax hike announced on Tuesday, to ease Montrealers' mounting frustration over allegations of corruption at city hall.
Suburban mayors, including Trent, rejected the city's budget proposal, which contained an average tax hike of 3.3 per cent.
"Citizens are frustrated. They feel that they've been robbed, with everything that they've seen in the commission, so what I'm looking at right now is the tax rate," said head of the city's executive committee Michael Applebaum.
The announcement that the majority Union Montreal party is considering overhauling the budget, comes as Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced he was taking a couple days off following allegations that he turned a blind eye to corruption.
"It's completely normal ... the mayor has the right to take couple days off," Applebaum said.
Michel Nadeau, executive director of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations thinks Tremblay is using the same strategy as Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt. "They are trying to gain time in order to avoid change at the city hall," he said.
If Tremblay chooses to step down, today is the final day that decision would lead to a by-election. Otherwise, city councillors would elect a person to hold the position on an interim basis, pending the municipal election in Nov. 2013.
As Tremblay takes a break from the spotlight, the collection of voices asking for him to step down continues to grow.
While Tremblay has not been charged with any crimes, Nadeau says he thinks that the mayor has no choice but to step down, because has lost the public's trust.
"If you do not have the credibility to manage the public good, you should leave," he said.
On Wednesday, Frantz Benjamin, a member of Union Montréal announced he would be leaving the party in light of the allegations made at the inquiry.
Benjamin was elected in 2009 in the Saint-Michel district and said he never witnessed any wrongdoing at city hall.
He said the vast majority of elected officials at Union Montréal are honest and urged Montrealers not to lump them all in the same pile.
Nadeau warned the city will spend a year in limbo with a lack of leadership if Tremblay chooses to step down after today and be replaced by an interim leader.