Letter to the editor 3, Sept. 22, 2016
Since my time spent as a member of St. Lazare city council (1994 through 2002), I have always kept an eye on the way thing are conducted at City Hall. After all I am still a concerned citizen. Through the years I thought of reacting to certain events or decisions, but restrained myself. But comments from Mayor Robert Grimaudo in your September 1 edition of Your Local Journal (New St. Lazare Town Hall expected to break ground this month, page 3) made me change my mind.
Where does he come off saying nothing was done on infrastructure from the past, two, three, four, five, six councils? May I remind him of a few projects that we instigated or participated during our two terms that are still benefitting the citizen and will do so for years to come.
Bike paths, water and waste water treatment plants, community center, library, Westwood high school, Forest Hill primary school, football and soccer fields and I am forgetting many neighborhood projects. All of these without increasing property taxes.
We also created and organized Les Fêtes de St. Lazare that spanned Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Canada Day at a time of difficult linguistic tension and relations, which was conducted within budget and with monies provided by the federal and provincial government which was less than $15,000 annually. We did not spend over $950,000 over two years for a Festival that will bring no “great benefits and prestige” to the city, like the mayor insisted.
Showing off our city is fine, but there are many other ways to go about it without frivolously spending our hard-earned money. And since when do we conduct municipal business for prestige? Please get your priorities straight.
Some of our sporting and cultural associations surely would have welcomed some of that money.
It is easy to boast about spending on infrastructures when the average tax bill goes up 4.7% and please don't blame it on the MRC who conduct the property assessments.
You even asked some of us to buy $10 permits for the spring leaf pick-up when it should be part of our services and please don't say that it is particular to Saddlebrook, Cedarbrook and Chanterel. Since when have we become a pay-per-service city? Can I then get a discount for garbage collection, because I only use it bi-weekly? How about my water tax, we are only two in our house? A city is a collective entity and all services should be available to all citizens and families with no regard to location or particulars.
I gave back to the city for many years through coaching, resident association, and as a city councillor. I moved on to concentrate on my career and my health. I passed the baton to some good people but I get the impression that the present council has forgotten the real purpose of a municipal administration - serve the citizen and make sure are dollars are well spent.
Who knows, maybe I will reach out to Paul, Gaetan, Bertrand, Neil and others. There is an election coming in the near future, right?
But one thing is for sure, I will still keep an eye out.
Marc S. Pilon