The Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM) of the Island of Montreal and Bill 22: The 15 mayors of the reconstituted suburban cities of the Island of Montreal unanimously say "yes" to renewed agglomeration governance

    MONTREAL, Nov. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Mayors for the 15 reconstituted suburban
cities of the Island of Montreal are submitting a brief to the National
Assembly's Commission de l'aménagement et du territoire studying Bill 22,(1)
presenting a number of recommendations including one that a renewed, distinct,
legally constituted agglomeration be formed.
    "The Association of Suburban Municipalities of the Island of Montreal
(ASM) is not proposing the creation of a new structure, but is asking that the
government renew the existing agglomeration and make it distinct from the City
of Montreal to make it more functional and democratic," explained Karin Marks,
Mayor of Westmount and spokesperson for the suburban mayors.
    In terms of the legislative process undertaken by the government, the 15
mayors of the reconstituted suburban cities unanimously:

    - say "yes" to a renewed agglomeration governance. The simple fact of
      tabling Bill 22 before the National Assembly demonstrates the necessity
      to review certain rules of governance for democratic life on the Island
      of Montreal as a whole;
    - say "yes" to the fair and appropriate management of services and assets
      "of collective interest" by the agglomeration administration. The
      mayors believe the creation of an arbitration committee is appropriate
      and hope to see its mandate expanded;
    - say "yes" to regional financing for services and assets jointly defined
      and recognized as being of a regional nature;
    - say "yes" to granting the City of Montreal new sources of funding
      whether it be through new taxation powers within its territory as
      foreseen in the Bill or through other means.

    Finally, the 15 mayors of the reconstituted municipalities recommend the
implementation of a "quote part" (a percentage taxation formula) based on the
fiscal potential of each city. In this context, each municipality would issue
a single tax bill to its citizens.
    In terms of the composition of the Agglomeration Council, the mayors state
that the government's proposal to increase the number of members to 80 runs
the risk of creating an unwieldy decision-making body. They favour a council
of 34 members composed of the mayor of Montreal, the borough mayors and the
mayors of reconstituted cities.
    Despite the vigorous criticism the concept received when the Bill was
tabled, the mayors believe a Secretariat for the Agglomeration of the Island
of Montreal is essential, although their recommendation on its status differs
from that of the government. In fact, the mayors recommend that the government
integrate this secretariat into the agglomeration, since it is this latter
entity that should have a distinct legal status. The Association of Suburban
Municipalities sees this secretariat as a light administrative structure,
avoiding any unnecessary bureaucracy. It would include a director or
secretary-general and would have its own clerk and researcher.

    Elements of collective interest

    The mayors also ask the government to repeal Appendix A of Decree
1229-2005, emphasizing that between Bill 9, Bill 75 and Appendix A of Decree
1229-2005, it is impossible to find any coherence in the definition and
recognition of these "elements of collective interest" to the agglomeration.
In this regard, the ASM welcomes the government's proposal to create an
Arbitration Committee.
    For the ASM, the decision to classify equipment, infrastructure or
activities "of collective interest" is only justified in cases where elements
truly have an impact on the agglomeration's population as a whole, both in the
City of Montreal and in reconstituted cities.
    Other subjects covered in the brief include the sharing of
responsibilities, financing, taxation, management of drinking water, and
wastewater treatment.

    The Association of Suburban Municipalities of the Island of Montreal's
brief is available in French and English on the Web sites of most of the
Association's 15 member municipalities.

    (1) Bill 22 entitled Loi modifiant diverses dispositions législatives
        concernant l'agglomération de Montréal

For further information:

For further information: Karin Marks, Mayor of Westmount and AMB
spokesperson, (514) 989-5240

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