Fire, public safety flat-rate taxes ‘unfair’
As a municipal councillor, it is my duty to inform [readers] of my opinion regarding the budget adopted by the municipality of La Pêche concerning some of the taxes being imposed.
Usually taxes are levied based on the municipal assessment of the value of your property. However in 2020 the municipal council adopted flat-rate taxes. These special taxes apply specifically to certain projects, fire safety services (50 per cent) and public safety – police service – (25 per cent).
In my opinion, these two services should not be taxed at a flat rate since this increases the bill for a residence that is evaluated below the median property value. Therefore applying this tax favours homeowners with higher property evaluations (for whom it represents a smaller percentage of their property value) and impacts more heavily on property owners whose property assessment is lower than the median value of properties in the municipality. Consequently low-income people and our seniors are the ones who are the most affected.
It should also be noted that seniors received only a $0.61/ month increase on their Old Age Security pension plan benefits. So, you will understand that, as a social democrat, I find that flat-rate taxes for these two types of services are unfair.
I understand that a flat-rate tax is already imposed for the arena or garbage collection, but for fire safety and police services, I do not understand why they are not taxed according to the municipal evaluation. This regulation has been passed in response to a number of requests from cottagers with high municipal property evaluations.
If you can own a cottage of this value, you can certainly pay the taxes imposed according to its municipal evaluation.
Coun. Michel Gervais, Ward 2
La Pêche, QC
Editor’s note: It should be noted that Coun. Gervais voted against the most recent budget.