Clarendon questions its share

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André Macron
(tr. L. T.)


André Macron
(tr. L. T.)

CAMPBELL’S BAY, October 25, 2013 – At the meeting of the council of MRC mayors on September 27, the Municipality of Clarendon put forward its request for a reduction of 10% over the next three years of its share to the MRC budget.  According to Rémi Bertrand, Director General of the MRC Pontiac, it is very difficult for the council of mayors to agree to such a request because the shares of the municipalities fluctuated not only because of the financial demands of the MRC budget, but also mainly because the property taxes vary from one municipality to the next.
“Servitech, out of Quebec City, is the private company that is hired to prepare the municipal evaluation in the MRC Pontiac. The value of any property is established by comparing the price of sale of a property to the value of other comparable properties, depending on several factors (location, etc.) and this is what is used to determine the total value of a municipality. From this total value, a specific ratio of contribution is determined for each municipality. For the MRC, this is its only income from the municipalities.  The total value of the 18 municipalities of the MRC Pontiac is 1 billion 790 million dollars and this is the basis for the shares of each municipality"
The director general also explains that the calculation of the share from each municipality is a complex process and that a direct reduction of the shares is not possible because the ratio of contribution of each municipality is established by Servitech.  M. Bertrand points out that until 2011,  the rate of taxation in the MRC Pontiac was one of the lowest in the province of Québec. He also stresses the fact that there are training sessions offered to all elected officials to prepare them to better play their role as councillors and mayors.
An important part of the MRC Pontiac’s revenue, like other MRCs, come from property taxes and the evaluation of these taxes is under the responsibility of the MRC Pontiac, that entrusted Servitech to do this evaluation. It is interesting to know, though, that in order to limit costs and avoid sharp increases in taxes, municipalities with less than 5 000 inhabitants can decide not to go through the process of property evaluation every three years and the MRC has to respect their decision.
Some municipalities in Québec have understood this process. To avoid the increase of their share to their MRC, they have decided not to ask for the evaluation every three years, prefering to keep their property taxes at the lowest level possible. At the same time, these municipalities, to keep their level of income at a safe level, will charge the tax payers separatly for some municipal services (leisure, etc.).
The municipalities can also decide to lower the mill rate on their territory, but this rate is quite often determined by the level of the financial contribution that has to be paid to the MRC.  Municipalities have to wait for the MRC budget to be made official before they can decide on their own budget.
With a total budget of  $5,141,162 the MRC Pontiac provide several services to the Pontiac through the organisations working within the MRC and is also active in searching for possible subsidies for its projects.
According to Terry Elliott, new acclaimed mayor of Clarendon, this motion (to reduce the municipal contributions to the MRC) had been put forward by the previous mayor, Jack Lang, and was endorsed by his council.  The goal of this motion was to force the MRC to keep its costs to a reasonable level.  Elliott points out that the share that his municipality pays to the MRC is the single largest expense of his municipality at $170 952, 040, compared to Campbell’s Bay’s share at $37 177, or 2,2%