Vaudreuil-Dorion property tax rate rises 1.9 per cent
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Vaudreuil-Dorion Treasurer and Director of Finance Marco Pilon presented the city’s 2019 budget during a special council session at city hall of Monday, December 10. Over 40 people attended the session including municipal blue and white collar union members from the Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP) who wore Santa Claus hats.
Pilon lashes out at SCFP union reps
Vaudreuil-Dorion homeowners will receive an average property tax increase of 1.9 per cent after its $81.5 million budget was presented by City Treasurer and Director of Finance, Marco Pilon during a special council meeting on Monday evening, December 10.
What distinguished this meeting from budget sessions in previous years was the unexpected attendance of blue and white collar union members from the Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP), many of whom distinguished themselves by wearing red and white Santa Claus hats. SCFP union members have been in contract negotiations with the city since spring.
They sat in the council chamber among the residents and listened quietly as the budget highlights were presented. For a house evaluated at $324,000, the increase amounts to $37 a year.
8.1 per cent increase
This year’s budget represents an 8.1 increase to $81.5 million attributable in part to the operating costs of the new filtration and water treatment plants, the implementation of the First Responders and 24/7 emergency watch, repairing the indoor pool with the Commission Scolaire des Trois-Lacs and revamping of the Harwood Boulevard sector.
“I’m very happy we’re reducing the amount of money we need every year from our surplus. A few years ago we took up to $4.5 million to use in our budget and this year it’s around $340,000. We want to be less dependent on the surplus in future years,” Mayor Guy Pilon told The Journal.
Residential boom continues
The city’s residential construction boom is continuing. More land is being cleared on the south side of Henry-Ford Road for a new project near Route Harwood. Ground clearance work is also underway for the new multi-apartment rental buildings near the Centre MultiSports which will help increase the city’s residential tax base.
“We are almost at the end of our expansion. When these two sections are finished we will almost be at the end of our growth limit. The next area where it will be possible to have growth will be in the Harwood Boulevard sector,” said Pilon.
Two SCFP union representatives from Montreal were also at the budget meeting. One asked the mayor during question period why the city was still giving out snow removal contracts to private contractors instead of using municipal employees to clear the snow and why municipal employees weren’t being used to pick up garbage.
Pilon replied that a cost-analysis assessment determined it would be too expensive to maintain a fleet of trucks and that garbage and recycling collection is mandated by the MRC.
Marie-Claude Lessard, union representative for the city’s white collar workers, told The Journal after the meeting that the representatives and unionized employees were there to show their dissatisfaction with the city regarding the slow pace of contract talks.
‘Expressing our displeasure’
“We’re here to express our displeasure with the city. Our negotiations aren’t going well and the two groups of negotiators that represent both the blue collar and white collar employees are being asked to go into conciliation talks,” said Lessard.
“We’ve never seen this in Vaudreuil-Dorion. After having had three meetings, to be asked to go into conciliation talks has never happened before. When we sit at the table, we’re supposed to have negotiations from both sides of the table, not just from one side. We’re not advancing at all,” Lessard added.
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Mayor Guy Pilon (centre, flanked by DG Martin Houde and Town Clerk Jean St-Antoine) didn’t mince his words at the presence of union members decked in Santa Claus hats at the end-of-year budget meeting.
Mayor not impressed with tactic
Pilon wasn’t impressed with the union’s tactic of raising their demands during the budget meeting. “I’m going to be frank with you. Those two clowns were there for the benefit of their members. They don’t give a damn about the benefit to our citizens. First of all, they are not from Vaudreuil-Dorion. One of them was there to promote the delegation to their people. The other one, I don’t know what he is doing in his life,” he said.
“What amazed me is that they’re with people there to help the negotiations with the white collar workers but the only thing they talked about was something in regard to the blue collar workers. We were very, very surprised. What surprised me the most was there were three people from the municipal union in the room in charge of the white collars and they didn’t say a word,” Pilon added.
“I don’t think our union members can take two steps either to the left or right without asking the people in Montreal whether it’s alright or not,” he said.