'Enough is enough': West Island residents push back against tax hikes
Demerged municipalities say increase is too high, not enough consultation
More than 100 West Island residents gathered to protest tax hikes imposed on demerged cities in front of Pointe-Claire City Hall on Sunday.
Protesters criticized Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, saying that the current system isn't fair.
"Taxation without representation is not acceptable. We're not going to take this lying down anymore," said event organizer Rhonda Massad.
Brenda Shaw, who was also at the protest, said that while there are some parts of the West Island with "deep pockets," not everyone can afford to pay more for their services.
"We're finding it very difficult to pay our taxes as it is," she said. "We're retired grandparents."
Shaw told CBC that there's only so much money to go around and that cuts will have to be made somewhere.
Municipalities say they weren't consulted
The spike, announced earlier this month, accounts for an average of 3.3 per cent across Montreal's boroughs with increases in the agglomeration averaging an extra 5.3 per cent for shared services.
There are 15 demerged municipalities on or around the island of Montreal that pay a portion of their budgets to the agglomeration council in exchange for services such as police and fire departments as well as public transportation.
Some will have to pay as much as 9.8 per cent more, which is the case for Town of Mount Royal. Montreal West will have to pay 9 per cent more.
Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere told CBC that he's angry not only about the increases, but also about the fact that he had no advance warning.
"We were supposed to be partners. You'd think they would sit down and go over it with us ahead of time," he said.
He said he only found out about the new taxes when it was announced to the public.
Michel Gibson, mayor of Kirkland, echoed the complaint.
"Enough is enough. I've got 51 per cent of my budget going to Montreal and I don't have any say," said Gibson. "Any increases in tax, we should be consulted."
In a statement sent to CBC, executive committee chair Benoit Dorais said the increase is due to a number of reasons: New collective agreements for police and firefighters, higher pension costs, as well as increased funding of public transit and water services.
Those are all shared services between the city and the demerged municipalities.
Increase in contributions to shared services by demerged municipalities
- Town of Mount Royal: 9.8%
- Montreal West: 9%
- Dorval Island: 7.1%
- Westmount: 6.7%
- Pointe-Claire: 6.3%
- Baie-D'Urfé: 5.7%
- Dollard-des-Ormeaux: 5.3%
- Beaconsfield: 5.2%
- Dorval: 4.2%
- Hampstead: 4%
- Senneville: 3.6%
- Côte Saint-Luc: 3.5%
- Montreal East: 3.2%
- Kirkland: 2.8%
- Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue: -7.4%
With files from Arian Zarrinkoub