Letter to the editor 1, April 12, 2018

Paying for services not rendered

Dear Editor,

Last week’s Editor’s Corner, stated, “While no one in the developed world should have to pay for services not rendered, we also want to know that we’re paying into an equitable and just system that isn’t rife with blot.” The editor should know that St. Lazare has a “services paid for, but not rendered” discriminatory tax/services policy that has existed for more than 30 years. Anyone living on a road, classified by the town as ‘private’ has to pay the same mill/tax rate, as every other household in St. Lazare.

However, after paying their municipal taxes, residents on private roads do not get services such as snow clearing, road maintenance, gravel, grading, or garbage pick-up at the end of their driveways. Every residential household in St. Lazare whether on municipal, provincial or private roads has the same mill rate (0.006741 for 2018) to determine their taxes, so one would assume that every household would get the same services. Not so.

Residents on our ‘private’ road have to pay a contractor every year to clear the snow for 1km of road. St. Lazare has not cleared the snow on our road for the past 38 years. Road maintenance, gravel and grading for the past 38 years have been conducted/paid for by the residents on our road. St. Lazare administration has repeatedly ignored our pleas for fair and equitable services that every other household in St. Lazare receives.

We raised the lack of services for private roads with a number of past mayors with no results. We raised the issue with current Mayor Robert Grimaudo in 2013 to be told, “We are working on a plan.” The same issue was raised again in 2015, 2016, then in October 2017, when we asked why nothing had changed regarding services or mill rate reduction, Mayor Grimaudo answer, “We dropped the ball.”

I used the word ‘discriminatory’ when describing the tax/services policy in St. Lazare, as there are only two ‘private’ roads here, but one of these ‘private’ roads has for some reason, received full services for the past 30 years, and even had a ‘Rue Privé’ sign installed by St. Lazare, while the other ‘private’ road where I live, gets no services!

So, for the past 38 years some of us have been ‘paying for services not rendered’ and we are still paying into an inequitable and unjust system in St. Lazare.

Alan Nicol

St. Lazare

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