Vaudreuil-Dorion unhappy with provincial overbilling for SQ police services
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Vaudreuil-Dorion Treasurer Marco Pilon presents the city’s financial report during the Monday evening council meeting.
A positive update on Vaudreuil-Dorion’s current financial status during the June 6 council meeting was tempered with criticism from Mayor Guy Pilon towards the provincial government for overcharging the municipality for Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police services.
During a slideshow presentation, Treasurer Marco Pilon noted that of the more than $5 million that had been set aside for SQ services for 2016, the province returned about $1 million because of apparent overcharges.
The reimbursement did not appease Mayor Pilon who has been a vocal critic of the provincial government for failing to respect an agreement with the city and other municipalities within the Municipalité de Comté Régionale (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges that had originally set contributions at 60 per cent.
“It’s almost a steal,” said Pilon. “Initially when the provincial government decided to have the SQ serve the MRC, it was against our will. We were originally supposed to pay 60 per cent of the cost. So if the SQ budget was $1 million, we would contribute $600,000.
“A few years later, the contribution went up to 80 per cent but this wasn’t what we had signed. Eventually, we found out that we were paying 112 per cent which means that we are paying 12 per cent more than the budgeted cost.
Pilon said the disproportionate billing that has affected municipalities within the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges and a second provincial MRC is being done because they are both “richer” than the province’s other MRCs. As a result, there are two MRCs that are unfairly subsidizing the provinces’ “poorer” MRCs for their police services, he added.
“We are richer so we are paying to places that don’t have money,” said Pilon. “The government decided to subsidize these places with our money which is not our responsibility. We are very mad about it because for the entire MRC, it comes out to over $20 million that we have overspent for the SQ the past six to eight years. This means that in Vaudreuil-Dorion we overpaid about $5 million.
“We’re very upset that the provincial government has taken our money and didn’t respect its agreement and made us pay more than 100 per cent,” he added. “We can’t do anything about it because it’s the government.”
Pilon called the decision to overcharge municipalities for SQ services as “politically motivated.”
“You can imagine what this means politically and what this will mean in the next election. They are using money to make friends in other places instead of making them pay their dues. If the province wants to compensate them, it’s okay, but they have to use their own money.”
The other frustrating aspect for Pilon is that the money it has overpaid for SQ services could have been used by the city to finance other projects. “It’s upsetting because we can’t use that money for our citizens,” said Pilon.
As for the other over-contributions the city and MRC has made for SQ services the past few years, Pilon said he doesn’t expect any additional reimbursement. “It will never happen. We just have to reduce the impact of losing this money and make the government understand that they cannot continue doing this.”