The Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM), which represents the Montreal agglomeration’s demerged municipalities, denounces the"abusive" increases in the 2023 operating budget revealed on November 29th by the Municipal Administration of Montreal and calls for an immediate and fair adjustment of the quotas.
PHOTO: City of Montréal-West
The President of the Association of Suburban Municipalities, Beny Masella, Mayor of Montréal-West
The ASM addressed Premier Legault and the municipal affairs, finance, and Montreal region ministers to address the administration of Montreal's "incredible insensitivity to the taxpayers and the population of the suburban cities." Following the tabling of the 2023 budget estimates presented at the agglomeration council of the City of Montreal, the ASM has signaled their concern regarding increased quotas for their constituents.
As detailed in the letter, the 15 cities, which represent 12% of the island of Montreal's population, will have to pay $38,972,800 in 2023 or no less than 38.4% of the total increase in the agglomeration's expenditures for the entire island of Montreal. The 15 linked cities' average per capita share of agglomeration expenses ($38,972,800 / 241,359 pop) will be $162, or 4.6 times more than those in Montreal.
The ASM then called upon the provincial government to be a committed party in finding viable solutions to a "substantial and fair adjustment of the distribution of the said quotas that are equitable and immediate."
Find the full letter below:
Mr. Prime Minister, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen.
You are already aware of the particularly difficult context of budgetary management and the sharing of expenses in the Montreal agglomeration. Consequently, I will spare you a historical review of the problematic elements and the many arguments that have already been presented to you in recent years.
However, I cannot pass over in silence, the budget presentation that was made on November 29, 2022 to the Mayors of the cities of the Association of Suburban Municipalities and the official tabling of the 2023 budget estimates that followed on the same evening at the agglomeration council of the City of Montreal.
Once again this year, Montreal's municipal administration has demonstrated an incredible insensitivity to the taxpayers and the population of the suburban cities, but this time it really goes beyond all reasonable limits. With an 8% increase in the quotas imposed on the linked cities, the increase for the City of Montreal will be only 2.7%; the fiscal gap is widening dramatically.
But the actual situation is much more serious. If you look at the attached table, you will see that the overall tax bill for all cities, including Montreal increases by $101,467,700 or 3.6% over 2022.
However, the devastating effects of the distribution mechanisms put in place by the Government of Quebec at the time of the de-merger of our cities, mean that the City of Montreal will only assume a share of $62,493,900 or 61.6% of these new expenses.
On the other hand, our 15 linked cities, which represent only 12% of the population of the island of Montréal and which should normally assume 18% of the agglomeration's fiscal capacity as established according to the rules put in place by the Government of Quebec, will have to pay $38,972,800 in 2023 or no less than 38.4% of the total increase in the agglomeration's expenditures for the entire island of Montreal.
The sharing of agglomeration expenses that is imposed on us for 2023 will mean that for average per capita impact ($62,493,900 / 1,784,681 pop) will be $35 per citizen, while for our 15 linked cities, this average per capita impact ($38,972,800 / 241,359 pop) will be $162, or 4.6 times more than for those in Montreal.
Similarly, the City of Montreal has focused all public and media attention on the 3.6% increase in agglomeration assessments while ignoring the fact that the agglomeration spending is actually increasing by $225 million or 8.75% in 2023.
We also note that the increasingly broad interpretation of the notion of agglomeration responsibility expenditures means that we are witnessing a growing transfer of expenditures from the City of Montréal to the agglomeration's budget. The agglomeration's total assessed contributions accounted for 39.5% of the city's total budget in 2020, and this share has 40.7 per cent in 2021 and 43.1 per cent in 2022.
PHOTO: City of Montreal (Reads: Quotas 2023, Breakdown by Related Cities and Change from 2022)
This budget ratio will increase again in 2023. This transfer of expenses, which already represented an average annual growth rate of nearly twice the rate of inflation at the same time, is of obvious financial interest to the City of Montreal.
The tax effort requested from the citizens of our linked cities is shamelessly higher than that requested from those asked of Montrealers. Moreover, we must never forget that the agglomeration's services are provided on the territory and to the population of the City of Montreal. For our linked cities, these services are considerably fewer, especially for the police presence and the very minimal and insufficient offer of public transportation for the citizens of our linked cities, compared to their neighbors living in Montreal.
Even the City of Montreal, through the voice of the President of its Executive Committee, Dominique Ollivier, officially recognized for the first time during the agglomeration council meeting on November 29, 2022, that the existing system of quotas for the agglomeration of Montreal had reached its limit. We would like to believe that these are not just words intended to make this monstrous pill go down better, but rather that this is a serious opening to revise this system.
We are all aware that there is no easy or quick solution to this problem, as Montreal is facing a complex financial situation. Their long-term financial outlook is very worrisome, and if something effective is not done quickly to their financial framework in a sustainable way, the situation will be even worse.
The solution to this Montreal tax problem will most likely have to be implemented in a progressive manner, but it will have to be done with clear and precise steps and steps that are sufficiently close together to be truly effective and productive for all our cities and cities and our populations.
Considering that the Government of Quebec is at the origin of and largely responsible for the budgetary stagnation that has existed for too many years, you cannot demand that our cities, including Montreal and our citizens alone, find and apply viable, sustainable solutions. The Government will have to get involved upstream and be an active and committed party in searching for and achieving real solutions.
In the meantime, the 2023 quota increases for the agglomeration of Montreal, as announced on November 29, 2022 by the Montreal Municipal Administration, are abusive and totally unacceptable. Consequently, we are asking for a substantial and fair adjustment of the distribution of the said quotas that are equitable and immediate.
Receive, Mr. Prime Minister, Madam, and Gentlemen, the expression of my
The President of the Association of Suburban Municipalities, Beny Masella, Mayor of Montréal-Ouest.
SOURCE: The Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM)