The mayors of hundreds of cities and towns across Quebec are calling on the provincial government to renegotiate a new fiscal pact.
The current deal expires at the end of next year and the mayors say the costs are increasing on cities and towns to pay for local services.
The elected officials insist new money is needed to help pay for services like public transit, build more affordable housing, find solutions to homelessness, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.
“It’s not millions or hundreds of millions, it’s billions of dollars that we need,” Dominique Ollivier, Montreal’s executive committee president said.
Premier François Legault says he’s willing to renegotiate a new fiscal deal but no new money will be sent to the cities and towns anytime soon.
”I already explained to Madame (Valérie) Plante that there’s no flexibility,” Legault said.
The words caught the mayor of Montreal off-guard, but Plante is hopeful a new deal can be reached.
”All we want is a better equity, a financial equity,” Plante said.
Local services are largely paid for by the largest source of revenue for municipal governments — property taxes.
But some elected officials insists it’s not enough as demands for more public services grow.
”Oh my God, if it’s status quo and not a new fiscal pact, big cities are in trouble, are in financial trouble,” Laurent Desbois, the Outremont Borough Mayor, told Global News.