South Shore Mayors: It's time to rethink Longueuil or get out

Mayors of Brossard, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville and Saint-Lambert say it's time to review the urban agglomeration of Longueuil, or get out.

The municipalities point to the HEC Montréal Centre for Productivity and Prosperity's latest report - The municipal demergers, ten years later: Statement of facts - as a cause for great concern.

In the report, centre director Robert Gagné found that Brossard, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville and Saint-Lambert were thit the hardest with the merger-demerger process.

Gagné found in 2001, before the mergers, Brossard spent 26% less than the average when compared to municipalities of the same size. Since 2006, after the demerger, the city has not only made up the difference, but it now outp spends the same municipalities by 19%.

While Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Saint-Lambert and even Boucherville spent more, 2%, 8% and 9% respectively, than similar cities in 2001, those rates exploded to 48%, 32% and 64% since the demergers.

What caused the massive spike?

"By indiscriminately applying the merger model developed for Montréal to all metropolitan areas, the Quebec government tripled the size of Longueuil, even though the city didn't have the necessary structures to cope," Gagné said.

"This greatly increased the pressure on the cost of municipal services. With the result that between 2001 and 2005 - one year before the mergers and one year before the demergers - average per capita spending in Longueuil grew 2.7 times faster than in the Quebec City urban community, and 5.4 times faster than in the Montréal urban community."

While municipalities in Quebec City and Montreal were found to be just as responsible for any increases in spending as the centre city, Longueuil told a different story.

"Most of the growth in spending by the reconstituted municipalities in the Longueuil agglomeration is attributable to higher local spending" Gagné notes.

"In this case, an imbalance in wealth with the centre city is to blame. Longueuil pays for only 47% of agglomeration services given its relative wealth, although it is home to 57% of the population in the agglomeration."

The South Shore mayors are calling on Municipal Affairs Minister Martin Coiteux to review the situation.