January 11, 2018 11:16 pm

Montreal suburban mayors and residents stunned over tax hike

WATCH: Montreal's 2018 budget saw a tax hike for demerged cities. As Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, both residents and mayors are furious over the increases.

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Mayors and constituents of suburban municipalities were caught by surprise when they learned the Valérie Plante administration is hiking their contributions with an average 5.3 per cent hike.

The highest increase is the town of Mount-Royal at 9.8 per cent, followed by Montreal West at 9 per cent.

Westmount is also getting a huge hike of 6.7 per cent.

The amounts are three to four times higher than the rate of inflation set at 2.1 per cent.

Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella spoke on behalf of several suburban mayors.

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He says the unexpected hike has left him and other mayors scrambling — wondering how they will sell this increase to residents.

“This budget as it stands right now is not acceptable, it needs to be revised,” Masella said.

“How can we put through that kind of a budget? Some of us have already passed budgets, we’re gonna have to go back and re-adjust those budgets.”

Masella said he hoped things would change with Plante.

“And when you have hopes, and those hopes are crushed, it’s even worse.”

If this budget goes through, Montreal West resident Caroline Phaneuf estimates her taxes could go up about $800 a year.

“How come we are having to pay a 9 per cent increase? That’s a lot of money a year for us,” Phaneuf said.

“Our taxes are already incredibly high. We pay almost twice the amount of taxes as NDG does.”

In Westmount, her frustrations are echoed.

“I wouldn’t mind if there was a tax increase, if actually, I saw it into the infrastructure of the community. But all I keep hearing is there’s no money for roads, there’s no money for hospitals, there’s no money for doctors,” Westmount resident Jordanna Fifer said.

Meanwhile, Tyler Russ-Hogg, whose dad owns a store in Westmount, was willing to give Plante a chance.

“If she does good things with the money, then I don’t have a problem with it. If it continues, the legacy that we’ve had in Montreal of tax money [going] down the drain, then obviously, I’m not happy with it,” Russ-Hogg says.

Council is expected to pass the budget sometime in February.

Mayors and residents Global News spoke to hope Plante can be convinced to change her mind.

But with a majority in council, she’ll likely get her way.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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