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In protest move, City of Beaconsfield pays increased fees: ‘Residents are being unfairly treated’

Click to play video: 'Beaconsfield upset over agglomeration fees' Beaconsfield upset over agglomeration fees
WATCH: Beaconfield Mayor Georges Bourelle is making noise over agglomeration fees paid to the city of Montreal for shared services. As Global’s Olivia O’Malley reports, the West Island mayor says he wants a refund – Feb 25, 2020

For the first time ever, the City of Beaconsfield has paid its agglomeration share in protest.

“My residents are being unfairly treated,” says Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.

READ MORE: Property taxes go up slightly in Montreal’s 2020 budget

Bourelle says the City of Montreal failed to apply the frozen 2007 real estate values to the 2020 agglomeration fees, costing Beaconsfield an extra $2 million for public services like water, garbage collection and mass transit — resulting in an 11.3-per cent increase in just one year.

“That means our citizens or taxpayers in Beaconsfield have paid a whole lot of money this year without having any new services or additional services,” he said.

READ MORE: Beaconsfield in limbo over sound wall construction as it awaits MTQ report

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In a statement to Global News, however, the City of Montreal says in the case of Beaconsfield, the significant increase in property values is what led to an increase in the contribution.

All demerged cities on the Island of Montreal pay for shared services, but Bourelle says there is a big problem with the way expenses are allocated for each municipality.

“We think it is unfair and unjust at the present time and it should be done on the user approach,” he said.

READ MORE: Beaconsfield in limbo over sound wall construction as it awaits MTQ report

Nonetheless, Bourelle isn’t the only one annoyed with the current formula.

Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella has been trying to work with the City of Montreal for months to find a more realistic approach of allocating expenses, but no solutions have come from their discussions.

“You can’t understand the level of frustration that we’re feeling right now. It’s unbelievable,” said Masella.

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The City of Montreal for it’s part disagrees.

“The process for calculating the agglomeration’s share is fair,” the statement read.

“Moreover, the contributions of the de-merged cities decreased by 2 per cent in the 2020 budget; This means that residents of those cities have seen their contribution to the agglomeration budget decrease, with local variations.”

Bourelle says he hopes the City of Montreal acknowledges its mistake and returns the money to the city of Beaconsfield. If not, he said they have the right to legally pursue the city down the line.

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