While those living within the City of Montreal saw increases on their property and water taxes on Wednesday, Mayor Valerie Plante’s first budget will also affect those in the demerged cities.

Agglomeration fees – money paid annually by the 15 demerged cities in exchange for services such as police, firefighters, water and others – will increase by an average of 5.3 per cent in the 2018 budget.

The lowest hike, percentage-wise is on Montreal-East, which will pay $1,784,900 in 2018, an increase of 3.2 per cent. The largest is on Town of Mont-Royal, which will pay fees of $4,485,400, an increase of 9.8 per cent over 2017.

After the budget’s reveal, several mayors expressed surprise and dismay, saying the increase in fees far surpassed the rate of inflation and would likely trickle down to their residents via higher taxes.

“A lot of towns have already passed their budgets,” said Montreal-West Mayor Beny Masella. “The ones that have already passed their budgets, and I’m one of those, have to go back and say , ‘Am I going to pass this $465,000 on to my residents, or am I going to try and do something to absorb it with a surplus or somehow make some other cuts?”

Masella noted that agglomeration fees make up a substantial portion of demerged cities’ budgets and the increase in fees will put pressure to raise taxes.

“On a $10 million local budget, you can’t find $465,000 easily, so eventually some of that’s going to have to go to the residents,” he said.

Westmount Mayor Christina Smith said the large increases came with no warning to the demerged cities.

“We were given no indication it would be anything greater than a cost of living increase,” she said. “We have not passed our budget yet, so obviously we have to go back to the drawing board. I’m very disappointed there wasn’t more collaboration, no heads up on this. I don’t think voters voted for a huge tax increase.”

On Thursday, Smith said Westmount would present its budget on Jan. 18. 

A group of mayors from the demerged cities said they planned to meet with Plante on Wednesday night to voice their concerns. 

The amount fees are increased, in dollar amount and percentage, for each demerged city are:

  • Baie-D'urfe - $628,600 (5.7 per cent)
  • Beaconsfield - $1,040,600 (5.2 per cent)
  • Cote-St-Luc - $950,300 (3.5 per cent)
  • Dollard-Des-Ormeaux - $2,082,200 (5.3 per cent)
  • Dorval - $2,901,400 (4.2 per cent)
  • Hampstead - $389,100 (4 per cent)
  • L'Ile-Dorval - $4,900 (7.1 per cent)
  • Kirkland - $818,200 (2.8 per cent)
  • Town of Mount-Royal - $4,458,400 (9.8 per cent)
  • Montreal-East - $550,300 (3.2)
  • Montreal-West - $465,400 (9 per cent)
  • Pointe-Claire - $3,691,400 (6.3 per cent)
  • Senneville - $117,900 (3.6 per cent)
  • Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue - $695,900 (7.4 per cent)
  • Westmount - $3,459,900 (6.7 per cent)