Beaconsfield increasing its lawsuit against Montreal and Quebec government

Click to play video: 'Beaconsfield court battle brewing over cost of shared public services'
Beaconsfield court battle brewing over cost of shared public services
WATCH: The mayor of Beaconsfield is digging in his heels and arguing that the time for talk is over.The West Island city is suing the City of Montreal and the Quebec government over taxation fees for shared public services. Global’s Tim Sargeant reports – Oct 20, 2021

Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle is upping the ante against the City of Montreal and the Quebec government.

The West Island municipality is increasing its lawsuit by $2 million, bringing it to $6 million.

The mayor argues that’s the amount that Montreal has overcharged Beaconsfield for shared public services, like public transit, police and fire fighting.

“Let me tell you that we’ve done our homework,” Bourelle told Global News.

The 15 demerged municipalities on the island have been trying to renegotiate a deal with Montreal for years over how to pay for shared common services.

Each city and town is billed annually for their share but the amount paid to Montreal is based on property values. The mayors of the demerged cities argue this is unfair, wanting the formula based on the quantity of public services rendered to each municipality.

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A recent Quebec government ministerial order almost precludes a change from happening.

Bourelle contends that a home owner in one of the demerged municipalities pays 62 per cent more for the same services as a home owner living in Montreal.

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The mayor says the time for talk is over, saying that turning to the courts is the best option for reimbursement.

“Our lawsuit is going to be the most meaningful way to resolve this situation,” he said.

But one municipal affairs analyst argues Beaconsfield’s chances of winning are remote.

“The intent was always going to be to have Montreal control the island, whether directly or indirectly. In this case, indirectly is going to lead to the same outcome,” Karim Boulos told Global News.

And the mayor of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue argues Beaconsfield’s case will be hard to win.

“I understand the frustration but I don’t think it’s going to lead to the result that we’re looking for,” Paola Hawa told Global News.

Hawa insists mounting more pressure on the Quebec government is the most efficient way to change the financing formula and have money redistributed to the suburbs.

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