The municipal hypocricy

This article was published two years ago in my other blog «ΘΕΜΑ». It is transfered to the Hellenic Canadian Link, because we all witnessed Mayor’s hypocrisy and the secret dealings with contractors.

[See ADDENDUM at the end for 2013]

I refer to the City of Montreal and its Mayor M. Gerard Tremblay. He repeatedly has misguided the citizens of Montreal. It has become public knowledge that he enforces quotas on the security forces. The police-persons hide behind bridges, parking lots, and everywhere they can spy the citizens and stop drivers, to give them tickets, most of them over 120$. The police refused that the policemen had quotas, but lately they admitted it; the police-persons themselves. Therefore, they lied to the citizens who pay their salaries. But who is going to bring them to justice? Canadians are very tolerant people. May be because they did not starve yet. There is always a little help from the big brother, like food banks, social assistance, and good people. I saw a lady, claiming, out of a fruit and vegetable shop, that she has 3 children and cannot feed them. The person listened to her and gave her 10$. There are good people, indeed.

Oh, yes the city of Montreal and its mayor.

Well, before the taxes were about to be published for 2011, the news came out «a new tax on the car owners will be imposed-40$ per year», «because the home owners», the mayor said «have been taxed enough and no new tax increases will be imposed on the homeowners». We knew it was a lie, like the refusal of imposed ticket quotas to the police persons. Indeed it was a lie. When I received my municipal tax account for 2011, I noticed that the amount, I have to pay in two installments has been increased, based on the assessment they did, from 266600$ to 288833$.

The General Tax had the rate, decreased from 0.9667/100$ in 2010, to 0.9228/100$, but the amount to be paid increased from 2 577.22 to 2 665.35, a difference of almost 88$.
This is of course an administrative plot. This is why: The rate rarely goes down. He decreased this rate, because he increased the tax base from 266 600$ to 288 833$, and they did not want us to resist. So we swallowed his tax pill. Next year they will probably increase the rate, again and there you are, to pay well over 3 000$, for a house which is 60 years old.

However, adding to the general tax, there is a special tax concerning water service; its rate went up from 0.0469/100$ to 0.0551/100$ or from 125.04$ to 159.15$

On the top (something that did not exist in 2009) there is a special tax concerning roads (I am wondering where Mr Tremblay was supposed to spend the general taxes, if not on the roads amongst other services). However, this rate is for 2011 0.0051$/100$ from 0/100$ (in 2010).

Then there is the Borough tax, concerning capital expenditures. These capital expenditures tax went up from 0.042$/100$ to 0.0529$/100$. If someone wants to know about this tax, here is the answer: «this tax is imposed to repay the loans contracted, for the realization of projects under the program of capital expenditures of the borough, e.g. road work». Apparently these are other roads, different than the special tax concerning roads, which is to finance expenditures related to roads.
But, just a minute, if we pay tax to finance roads, why do we borrow money and then we pay tax to pay off the loans?

Special tax concerning water services…
This tax is imposed to finance expenditures related to the supply of water.
So we pay tax for the supply of water. Fine. But, at the same time I receive yearly another invoice to pay, for water. Specifically, this second invoice is exclusively, for water. It goes somewhat like this:
WATER TAX for 365 days/365 days 25.00$/unit
It tells me that I pay for the meter every year 25$. Imagine how many dollars they collected for this meter, which is in the house for 10 years: 250$ (the previous one was for about another 50 years). Yes, this meter should have gold plates inside. I will continue to pay, 25$ if no more, for this unit, in the future.
Then I pay for consumption. I am allowed to consume 228 M3, at no extra charge. If, however, I will need to spend more water, I am charged 0.396$ per M3.

Before summer another tax is mailed in. This is for SCHOOL TAX purposes.
From 2010-07 to 2011-06 the rate was 0.23841$/100$. Based on the 266 600$ value of the house, I ended up to pay 635.60$.
Obviously, when they will mail, in the new statement, it will be based on the new value 288 833$, and may be on a new rate.

This year, Mr Tremblay is aiming to spend our taxes as follows:
Public security 20.7% [ 21.8% in 2009]
Debt service 16.9% [18.5% in 2009]
Recreation and culture 10.0% – Skating Rings, swimming pools, playing fields and others 6.7% & libraries, community centers and others 4.1% [10.8% in 2009]
Public transit 9.9% [ 9.1% in 2009]
Corporate expenditures 8.9% [ 5.3% in 2009]
General Administration 8.1% [ 8.7% in 2009]
Water and Sewers 6.2% [ 6.0% in 2009]
Roads Network 4.7% [ 5.1% in 2009]
Land development, urban planning and economic development 4.6% [4.4$ in 2009]
Waste collection and Environment 4.5% [ 6.0% in 2009]
Snowing removal 3.3% [ 3.4% in 2009]
Social housing, food inspection and other 2.2% [ 2.5% in 2009]

So what are your daily most important concerns?

My concerns are:

to feel secure in my neighborhood
to be able to leave my home, prepare for work and feel comfort when I return to my home.
to go to work on time and fast
to make sure that all citizens have the same basic amenities
to improve the quality of life via arts and entertainment
Based on these priorities I expect:

money to be invested in community services, like social programs, psychological support and assistance for students and single mothers as well as low income families, excellent social housing, arts and entertainment close to neighborhoods, security monitoring.
effective police investigation
uninterrupted provision of water, heat, electricity, waste collection
clean, well maintained roads
Therefore, I would expect in the following order the taxes to be spent on:

Debt service
Community Services (Social housing, Recreation and culture, social services, security monitoring)
Water and sewers, waste collection and environment, snow removal
Roads network, public transit
Police security
General Administration
Land development, urban planning and economic development
Corporate expenditures, food inspection and others
You may observed that the Corporate expenditures were increased from 5.3% to 8.9%. Why the corporate expenditures had that unbalanced increase, only the mayor knows. Only he knows why the corporate expenditures increase dramatically and the social housing decreases, the snow removal decreases, the waste collection and environment decreases, the culture fund decreases, the roads network decreases, and our taxes increase.

Does he have his priorities straight?

ADDENDUM- 2013 Municipal Tax Account.
Now, think about it: I am paying off a house which theoretically belongs to me (well, at the end of repaying the mortgage I have). At the same the state (what is the market) decides what is the value of my house and force me to pay a few thousands of dollars for taxes… for something that is mine… I am the owner.
If I will make my house better, by renovating it, the municipal government will panish me by increasing the value and forcing me to pay more… Well I think it is completely wrong. Do not take me wrong. I do not refuse to pay taxes for the common good. But I use the streets as much as my neighbor, I use my car as much as my neighbor, I receive the same services, no more no less. Why should I pay more (or less for the shake of the argument)? I am completely against this way of taxing. They are not allowed to tax me for something it does not belong to them. The municipal taxes should be based on other parameters, like the number of people living in the house (more enjoy the services), the number of cars you own (more services received), and things like that.

This year my BIG BROTHER decided that my 1945 house had its value increased, as if the municipality renovated it for me, as if it is not me that I pay all the expenses, the renovations, etc. My BIG BROTHER decided that the value of my house is 333300$

Based on this I pay

Ville de Montreal
General tax 0.7139/100$, a total of 2379.43 (2454.01 in 2012)
Category of Immovable: Residual
Special Tax concerning WATER Service 0.1159/100$, a total of 386.29 (387.90 in 2012)
Special Tax concerning ROADS 0.0044/100$ for a total of 14.67 (14.62 in 2012)

Tax concerning Services (By-Law RCA12-08-10) 0.02/100$ for a total of 66.66 (62.21$ in 2012)
Tax concerning Services (By-Law RCA12-08-10) 0.05/100$ for a total of 166.65 (NEW, yes, twice the same tax)
Tax concerning Capital Expenditures 0.0548/100$) for a total of 182.65 (171.40$ in 2012)

TOTAL 3196.35 (3090.14 in 2012)

The way the taxes increase, they want to force me to sell it, because at the end I will not be able to pay theses taxes, and new owners will come, pay «welcome tax», increase the value, since the new buyers make renovations, of course. Eventually, the government you created to serve you, turned to become your LandLord. I am still waiting for the School Taxes.