Dorval gives way too much to the Agglo of Montreal

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Dorval pays the most of any reconstituted suburban municipality into the Montreal agglomeration, a staggering $72 million for 2014.The agglomeration, which is controlled by Montreal’s city council and mayor, has a budget of about $2.2 billion this year with the 15 reconstituted municipalities covering about 18.5 per cent, or just over $401 million. After Dorval’s $71.6 million agglomeration portion, Pointe Claire’s share comes in second at about $59.5 million.The agglomeration quotas are based on total residential, commercial and industrial valuations, not on population statistics alone as Dorval has fewer than 19,000 residents and Pointe Claire has about 31,000 residents.The Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the most significant taxable property on the island of Montreal and accounts for much of Dorval’s fiscal valuation.“Because of the airport our quota-part is increased that much, Mayor Edgar Rouleau said. “The more industrial/commercial you have, the more you are going to pay. That was set up by the provincial government. Let’s be honest, it makes certain sense. The more industrial/commercial, the better your financial economy is in the city.”With Montreal taking over management control of the Dorval water filtration plant this year, Rouleau estimates his city will save about $200,000 since it will no longer directly pay for some costs, such as staff salaries at the plant. He added the water rate Montreal charges per cubic meter has been notably lower than what Dorval used to calculate for its budget exercises.Rouleau said de-merged West Island cities don’t believe they receive the equivalent in services for the millions they send to the agglo to cover items such as public transit or policing.“Paying is one thing. What we question a lot is do we get our money’s worth?” he said. “For sure, Dorval, like other cities, we don’t feel that paying $72 million, we don’t get $72 million of services from the agglomeration.” Dorval’s agglomeration bill has increased by just under two per cent from last year, though Rouleau said his city has faced a massive hike for regional costs and services since the pre-forced mergers years under the previous Montreal Urban Community set up. Dorval and other West Island cities de-merged in 2006 after four years as part of the mega-city.The agglo controls all of the amalgamated fire fighting services across the island while the MUC did not. But even considering Dorval used to run its own firehall, Rouleau estimates its bill for all current regional services would have come under $30 million in 2001.“Before the merger (in 2002) we were paying $22 million to the MUC,” Rouleau said of Dorval’s regional bill. “The only difference was the (local) fire department was under Dorval. At the time, it was about $2 million or so for the fire department. Add that up, it’s about $25 million.“Now we are paying almost $72 million but we have no more services. In fact, even less since we have to fight with the agglo for everything. There are always discussions, this is not ours, this is Dorval’s (cost),” he continued. “We pay 60 per cent of our taxes in Dorval to the agglo.”It would be up to the provincial government to issue an updated decree to make the agglomeration scheme fairer for taxpayers in reconstituted Montreal suburbs, Rouleau said.“The change has to come from there,” he added. “We can bring it up to them but how far is it going to get us, I’m not sure.”Though he doubts there is in any quick fix for any agglomeration cost sharing disputes, Rouleau doubts any provincial government would be daft enough to reintroduce forced municipal mergers for Montreal Island. Meanwhile, Baie-d’Urfé, which has about 3,850 residents, will hand over about $11 million to the agglo in 2014.Beacsonsfield, with 19,500 residents, pays about $20 million, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, with 49,600 residents, has a $39 million quota, and Kirkland, with 21,250 residents, has a $30-million share.Senneville, which has about 920 residents, pays $3.6 million, while Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue, with 5,100 residents, has a $9.9 million portion.Dorval Island, a seasonal cottage municipality located just off the shores in Lake St. Louis near Dorval. Ave., contributes about $55,000

 

by Albert Kranburger of the Gazette

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