Montrealers living in the borough that will see the highest jump on their next property tax bill say they feel duped by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and her administration.
Residential property owners in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie will see their tax rate go up 5.6 per cent, well above the island-wide average of 3.3 per cent.
For business owners in the borough, their rate hike will be 4.6 percent. The city-wide average is 3.3 per cent.
"She totally broke her promise," said said Annie Alberro, who's owned a home in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for the last six years. "Until now, Mrs. Plante has not blown me away. I find her very pleasant; she smiles all the time, but this tax hike is enormous. I hope people will protest."
While vying for the mayoralty last fall, Plante made a campaign promise that taxes would not be increased higher than the inflation rate, which is 2.1 per cent.
While homeowners on average will see the general tax rate increase by 1.9 per cent — below the rate of inflation — once you add the borough service tax of 0.3 per cent and a 1.1 per cent spike in the water tax, the average property taxpayer will be paying 3.3 per cent more.
"I am privileged because I can afford the hike, but I can think of at least three or four people in my building who will probably have to sell and move," Alberro told CBC News.
Aldo Del Re moved to Rosemont five years ago after purchasing a condo.
"For me, it's awful. I don't know what to say. I am caught by surprise," said Del Re. "I guess we'll have to kick [Plante] out the next time around."
Longtime resident Joseph Lettieri says he's OK with paying a little more in taxes but only if that means better public services.
"Every time it's increasing, and we pay. And I'm OK with that, but then at least we need to get some services, like snow removal. If we pay, it's because we should get something in return," said Lettieri, who's been living in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for more than 60 years.
'Right thing to do': Plante
The opposition at Montreal City Hall says citizens have been deceived.
"To us, it demonstrates that it's going to reduce the ability to retain and to attract families to Montreal. It's going to affect the quality of life, and it also demonstrates how the [Plante] administration is disconnected to the economic-business reality," said opposition leader Lionel Perez.
But Plante said she did keep her promise to keep the tax increase below the rate of inflation, specifying that property taxes and water taxes are two separate portfolios.
"The property tax and the water tax [are] very different, and the second one serves all Montrealers for now but also for the future, and this is something that we had to do," Plante told CBC Montreal News at 6 anchor Debra Arbec.
This is the first time the city's water tax has been raised since 2013.
"We need to do those repairs. We need to do the responsible thing because there was no investment in the past, or just so little into water infrastructure, that it was the right thing to do."