MRC mayors split on new formula to redistribute costs for SQ police services
By John Jantak
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
After stating for years that the towns in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC were overpaying for policing services from the Sûreté du Québec, a reformulation will see some towns getting a refund while others will have to pay more.
A redistribution of the costs incurred for Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police services among the 23 municipalities that comprise the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges will result in some municipalities, including Vaudreuil-Dorion and Pincourt, having to repay their portions as part of a plan recently adopted by the MRC while while most others, including Saint-Lazare, will get a refund.
A majority of the municipal mayors at the MRC decided they want to proceed with the redistribution and change the way the overpayment costs for the SQ are redistributed. As a member of the MRC, Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon spoke on behalf of his city saying the current formula used to redistribute the refund is unfair to the municipality.
Vaudreuil-Dorion opposes plan
“This is money we’re going to get back in March that was paid in 2020. It will be unfair to make the repayment retroactive. We understand there’s a problem with the way the money is redistributed but don’t touch the money that has already been spent. We’re very angry about this. There are some towns that are paying less now than they were in 2006 because of the redistribution. We want to talk more about the way the money is redistributed,” Pilon told The Journal.
The mayor is also concerned about the impact the repayment will have on the city’s 2021 operating budget because the money it has to reimburse was already allocated. “We agree the current system is unfair. But it’s also unfair to collect more money than has already been spent. Eventually we hope to find a third person to listen to us and our concerns,” Pilon added.
Pilon declined to comment further saying the city has taken legal action regarding the $1.7 million it has to repay to the MRC.
Negative impact on Pincourt budget
Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal, who is also the Substitute Prefect for the MRC, voiced his opposition regarding the redistribution formula by voting against it as well because the $100,000 the town has to repay will negatively impact its 2021 operating budget.
“I agree we have to review the repayment formula that has been in place since 2006. The MRC didn’t take the time to review a proposal made by the mayor of Sainte-Marthe regarding revising the current formula. This is why I’m against it. The redistribution should not apply this year. It should be done when the MRC does its operating budget for next year,” said Cardinal.
Refund for Saint-Lazare
Saint-Lazare is one of several municipalities that will receive a refund of their contribution for SQ services although it’s still unknown how much money it will receive for their overpayment. Social media was also buzzing with stories about a reimbursement for the Town of Hudson but as of press time, Hudson Mayor Jamie Nicholls did not respond to a request for comment. Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo said the new formula to calculate the costs paid by each MRC municipality is fairer and benefits the majority of municipalities.
“When we’re sitting at the MRC we have to be thinking regionally all the time. “I think the mayors made the right decision. This redistribution is more fair and when you look at all the numbers, the majority of the municipalities within the MRC will benefit from the new formula,” said Grimaudo.
This is what having a regional attitude is all about,” he added. “We have to make decisions as mayors at the MRC. We’re not just making decisions for one municipality. We represent all the MRC.”