Vaudreuil-Dorion in excellent financial shape but SQ overpayment irks mayor


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Treasurer and Director of Financial Services Marco Pilon presents the city’s 2018 financial report before the start of the regular council meeting on June 3.

Vaudreuil-Dorion is in superb financial shape with a surplus of just over $8.2 million as Treasurer and Director of Financial Services Marco Pilon presented the city’s 2018 financial report before the start of the regular council meeting on Monday, June 3.

For the year ended on December 31, 2018, the city reported operating revenues of $82 million and operating expenses and appropriations of $74 million, leaving the $8.2 million surplus. Part of the surplus was attained by a $1.6 million increase in the property transfer tax revenue than forecast, and other commercial and industrial transactions.

Future municipal projects

Mayor Guy Pilon announced that $5 million from the surplus will be allocated to future municipal building projects and $750,000 will be used to increase working capital for capital asset acquisitions. The balance will be retained for different projects underway and in development as well as to deal with unforeseen events that may occur.

“Yes, we have a surplus but that money has always been put into the right place. We’re reducing the impact on the next taxation year,” said Mayor Pilon told The Journal.

SQ overpayment reimbursement

The city also received a reimbursement of about $600,000 for overpayment of police services from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) from the provincial government, a constant irritant that greatly bothers Pilon. He said he’s tired of the provincial government overbilling the municipalities within the Municipalité Régionale de Comté de Vaudreuil-Dorion (MRC-VS) for SQ police services only to reimburse them the following year.

“The government is doing things that, if done privately, a person would be in jail. Why are there four or five MRCs in Quebec that pay for the police for the other MRCs that don’t have enough money?” asked Mayor Pilon.

More than 100 per cent in SQ costs

The mayor said when the MRC signed their deal for SQ police services many years ago, they were paying between 50 to 60 per cent of the cost and the SQ was taking care of the rest.

“Then the cost rose to 80 per cent. Now it’s over 105 per cent. In some places it’s at over 112 per cent,” said Pilon.

“We’re paying more because we’re paying for the SQ in the Gaspésie and places like that. We asked why?” he said. Pilon said the more affluent MRCs complained that the government is engaging in a form of equalization payments by taxing the wealthier MRCs in order to give police services to the poorer ones in order to maintain equilibrium.

Paying services for poorer MRCs

“Every year we’re paying more and after that the government gives us back a bit of money, but why? They didn’t respect their signature when they signed the original agreement. They’re the government. This is really major. They can take the money from wherever they want but they cannot they cannot ask for four or five districts in Quebec to pay for the MRCs that cannot afford it,” said Pilon.

“Why do we pay for the MRCs that can’t afford it? Because it’s the SQ?” asked Pilon rhetorically. “The government forced us to have the SQ in our territory. We didn’t have any choice because we’re close to the Ontario border. They government told us it would cost less but a few years later, it’s completely the contrary,” Pilon added.

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