Letter to the editor 7, Oct. 26, 2017

Spending justified?

Dear Editor,

Can St. Lazare afford four more years of Mayor Robert Grimaudo’s spending? In order to make up your mind, ask yourselves a few key questions in a context of a Town of 20,000 residents.

1. Do we now have the most expensive Town Hall in Quebec History for a Town of 20,000 residents? Please ask the mayoral candidates to answer this question before you vote! Some councillors are now estimating the true cost to be $11 million given that the initial estimate did not include landscaping, paving the parking lot, full cost of the furniture and computers, etc. In addition with a moderate 3.5% - 4% interest rate over 30 years, we will need to spend around another $6 million in interest payments for a total cost of $17 million. The mayor likes to say we might get subsidies from Quebec, however the last time I checked we all also pay provincial taxes.

2. Do we now have the highest paid Director General in Quebec for a Town of 20,000 residents?

Please ask the mayoral candidates to answer this question before you vote! The DG’s base salary for 2018 was increased to $177,723 at last Town Hall meeting with a very generous benefits package, including a 7% pension matching on top of the base of 2.5% RRSP, which can total another $16,883 if fully exercised. Finally paid vacation was increased by 5 days to 39 days, in addition to the existing 10 days of sick pay. The DG has to take 10 days’ vacation, however the balance can be paid out. The Journal de Montreal published an article on May 20th of 2015, where the residents of Mont-Royal were outraged that the DG’s salary had increased to $165,000, $12,000 less than our DG! Similar sized towns to ours like Westmount and Dorval only paid their DG in 2015 $130,000 and $122,000 respectively.

In my opinion St. Lazare cannot continue to overpay for festivals, salaries and infrastructure where a $6 million Town Hall would have been just fine for a small town of 20,000 residents and 7800 taxpaying residences.

Bruce Waters

St. Lazare

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