PRESS RELEASE BY THE ASSOCIATION OF SUBURBAN MUNICIPALITIES
Montreal West, November 29, 2022 – The Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM), which represents the Montreal agglomeration’s demerged municipalities, denounces the abusive increases in the 2023 operating budget revealed Tuesday night by the Municipal Administration of Montreal and calls for an immediate and fair adjustment of the quotas.
“Every year, when its operating budget is unveiled, the Municipal Administration of Montreal demonstrates its insensitivity to taxpayers and to the population of suburban cities, but this time it has crossed the line. With an 8% increase in quotas for demerged municipalities, while the increase for the City of Montreal is a mere 2.7%, the gap widens dramatically. For the mayors of the demerged cities, this is a thinly veiled insult to their citizens,” said Beny Masella, President of the ASM and Mayor of Montreal West.
Although the 15 demerged municipalities account for 12% of the population of the Island of Montreal and 18% of the fiscal capacity as established by the rules put in place by the Government of Quebec, in 2023 they will have to assume 38% of the total increase in the agglomeration’s expenditures for the entire Island of Montreal. In addition, Montréal alone receives an $18 million credit following a redistribution of the quotas related to the new assessment roll.
Therefore, the City of Montreal presents an agglomeration expenditure budget for 2023 that is supposedly up $100 million, compared to the 2022 budget. However, the actual overall increase in this budget is $224.9 million, which represents an actual increase of 8.75% over the 2022 budget, and not 3.6%. Montreal presents the 2023 budget variances while including the non-recurring deficits of 2020 and 2021, which favourably distorts budget variations.
In addition, the 2023 operating budget maintains a glaring and unjustifiable fiscal inequity for the population of the demerged municipalities. Their quota, paid to the City of Montreal for agglomeration services, represents an average additional annual tax burden of $700 per year per citizen, a whopping 56% more than the citizens of Montreal.
The ASM also notes that the increasingly broad interpretation of the concept of the agglomeration’s liable expenses has resulted in an ever-increasing transfer of expenditures from the City of Montreal to the agglomeration’s budget. The agglomeration’s total quotas represented 39.5% of the total budget of the City of Montreal in 2020. This share increased to 40.7% in 2021, then to 43.1% in 2022, and will increase again in 2023. This transfer of expenses already had an average annual growth of nearly double the inflation rate at the time and is an obvious financial interest for the City of Montreal.
The ASM points out that the current process for calculating quotas does not ensure a fair distribution of agglomeration expenses. In addition, as demerged municipalities are excluded from the preparation process for the 2023 fiscal year, the ASM cannot endorse such decisions, taken unilaterally.
“For years now, we have been saying that the current quota process is undemocratic and perpetuates injustices against our citizens, who are being held hostage. The Municipal Administration of Montreal and the Government of Quebec must recognize the role of the elected officials of demerged municipalities and invite them to take part in any decision that directly affects them,” concluded Mr. Masella.
For Mr. Masella, “What is asked of the citizens of the demerged municipalities shamelessly surpasses that of other citizens of the Island of Montreal. While they already pay much more, the demerged municipalities receive fewer services. For example, there is much less police presence and a very minimal and insufficient public transit offer for citizens demerged municipalities compared to their neighbours living in Montreal. The Municipal Administration of Montreal seems to consider that there are two classes of citizens on the Island of Montreal. This is socially and morally unacceptable.”
About the Association of Suburban Municipalities
The Association des municipalités de banlieue (ASM) is an association of fifteen demerged municipalities of the agglomeration of Montreal, each autonomous in its municipal management and its voice. Together, they count some 250,000 citizens. These municipalities are Baie-d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Côte-Saint-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, L’Île-Dorval, Hampstead, Kirkland, Montreal East, Montreal West, Mount Royal, Pointe-Claire, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Senneville, and Westmount.