Vaudreuil-Dorion continues to demand review of SQ overbilling
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Resurfacing work will begin in October along a stretch of Highway 342 in Vaudreuil-Dorion after the provincial government announced it will pay one-half of the estimated $7 million cost.
The continued overbilling for Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police services within the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges prompted Vaudreuil-Dorion council to propose a resolution at the Monday evening council meeting on July 3 that requests the provincial government to review and make changes to the overbilling practices.
“We are very unhappy because we have to pay over 100 per cent for the costs related to the SQ,” Mayor Guy Pilon told Your Local Journal. The issue involves more affluent regional governments such as the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges being overcharged in order to subsidize provincial police operations in other MRC jurisdictions that have less revenue.
112 per cent cost to municipalities
When individual municipal police departments were disbanded by the provincial government and the SQ was mandated to provide police service for the entire MRC, Pilon said the original contribution was set at 50 per cent. Over the years the amount of the contribution increased to 80 per cent, 100 per cent and now stands at 112 per cent, an amount that Pilon feels is unjustified.
It’s not that the city is dissatisfied with the quality of police services being provided; Pilon said the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges should not be required to subsidize other provincial MRCs that do not have the financial resources to exclusively pay for their services, adding it’s the responsibility of the province to fund SQ police services.
‘Almost the cost of a new city hall’
According to Pilon, the MRC in 2016 paid $5.5 million in additional SQ costs which resulted in an additional 25 per cent contribution of $1,375,000 from Vaudreuil-Dorion alone. “This is just for one year. With the extra amount of money the city has paid in the past five to six years, that’s almost the cost of a new city hall,” said Pilon.
Pilon said an equitable solution would be for the province to reimburse all overpayments above the 80 per cent threshold, but acknowledged it probably will never happen. “The provincial government doesn’t want to pay so they decided to have the more affluent provincial MRCs pay for police services,” said Pilon
Highway 342 resurfacing
Council also announced it will proceed with pavement resurfacing work in October along a stretch of Highway 342, a rural road also known as Route Harwood, that runs through the municipality after the provincial government announced it will pay one-half of the estimated $7 million cost.
“The good news is the province will pay 50 per cent of the cost. The bad news is that instead of the government borrowing the money to pay us, we will have to borrow the whole amount and they will repay our portion over the next 20 years,” said Pilon.
The upgrade will extend westward just after the Autoroute 30 overpass up until the Highway 40 entrance and exit access roads. A survey conducted by CAA Québec in 2016 ranked the narrow, two-lane road as the third worst in the Montérégie. Pilon acknowledged the road needs upgrading and has been awaiting word from the province about a financial contribution to help offset the cost.