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Borough getting the short end of the stick, says opposition leader
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 19 mars 2009
As Montreal’s official opposition leader, Benoît Labonté has repeatedly argued that there’s a fiscal imbalance between the city and the boroughs.
“The city asks boroughs to deliver 100 per cent of services, but only gives them 23 per cent of the operating budget,” he said. “And this was before last week’s cuts.”
The Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough receives a yearly budget of $415 dollars per citizen from the city in 2009, while St-Laurent, for example, gets $833 per capita.
“Explain to me how you can guarantee that Montreal citizens – because we are citizens of Montreal first and foremost – receive the same quality and the same quantity of services when there’s $800 available on one hand and $400 on the other hand,” said Labonté.
“Nobody’s going to make me believe that a resident of St-Laurent is worth twice as much as a resident of Côte-des-Neiges-NDG.”
Labonté said that his administration, if elected, would give the boroughs more money so that they can offer better local services, and balance budgets to ensure that the same high-quality services are available throughout the city.
He would also strip the 19 boroughs of some “strategic” powers that they received in 2003 during the demerger, and that he believes should be assumed by the city of Montreal. These include matters of economic development, major projects, snow removal and recycling, namely.
“Do we really need 19 directors of Public Works?” he asked.
“Citizens don’t want to know who’s going to provide the service. They just want things to get done and they want to feel that they’re still in the same city if they go from one end to the other,” he said.

[ Iuliana Petrescu ]

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