While property taxes in Dollard-des-Ormeaux remain relatively stable this year, Mayor Ed Janiszewski says demerged municipalities still face an ongoing uphill battle for a fairer agglomeration system.
The owner of an average Dollard home, valued at about $396,000, will receive a tax bill of $4,060, which includes a $220 potable water charge. It represents an increase of just over two per cent from last year’s municipal tax bill.
Dollard’s budget for 2014 is set at $78.7 million, of which $39.4 million is destined for the agglomeration to pay for regional services and other costs controlled by Montreal. Dollard’s new budget, tabled Jan. 31, represents an increase of about $815,000 in spending from last year.
A new method set by Quebec to calculate the provincial sales tax rebate is costing municipalities when they use long-term borrowing for capital projects, Janiszewski said, adding this measure will cost Dollard about $500,000 in revenue this year.
“That’s almost one per cent (of our budget),” he added. Dollard’s agglo share is up by just over one per cent from its 2013 charge, the lowest increase since demergers about eight years ago, Janiszewski noted. “The increase was 1.1 per cent,” he added. “It’s the best we’ve had from the agglo since we started in 2005.”
Janiszewski said Quebec should once again intervene between Montreal and its demerged suburbs since talks between the two distinct sides in the agglomeration scheme haven’t been able to resolve some long-standing cost disputes.
“There have been absolutely no changes, like they charge us for maintaining the centre-ville. They made the centre-ville from Atwater to Pie-IX and from the (St. Lawrence River) up to Mount Royal Ave.,” he said. “They charge us for the all maintenance and repairs they do for that whole sector. They claim it’s because some of our people work downtown. People from Laval, the South Shore and Vaudreuil work in the downtown area but, of course, they pay nothing (to the agglo).
“The highest revenue source is where the big office buildings are, where they pay taxes and people who work there shop at stores that also pay taxes. They should give us (West Islanders) a discount for supporting those buildings.
“There’s no justification for it,” he said of these agglo charges. “We have to get Quebec to correct it.”
The demerged suburbs should take a tougher stance and resort to boycotting agglo meetings in order to gain Quebec’s attention, Janiszewski suggested.
“If we vote against something, it passes 87 to 13,” he said of the weighted agglo system favouring Montreal, which votes at the regional body as one block.
Meanwhile, Dollard also tabled its triennial capital expenditure program, with $6.9 million earmarked for projects in 2014 and then $3.2 million for each of the two following years.
“It’s all road and sewers. It’s for basically keeping everything up to date,” the mayor said of the planned infrastructure work. “There are no major projects other than housekeeping, relining water mains, repaving roads and repairing sidewalks.”