News  Plateau-Mont-Royal fights for parking meter revenues

Local businesses could be made victims in municipal budget battle

Over the last few weeks, debate has heated up between the merchants of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, the borough administration headed by mayor Luc Ferrandez, and the City of Montreal over revenues from newly-installed parking meters.

Projet Montréal, which controls every seat on the Plateau borough council, announced the 2011 Parking Action Plan last October, which detailed the implementation of 600 parking meters and the standardization of parking meter rates to $3 per hour.

The Plateau borough administration claims that the City altered a revenue-sharing formula negotiated in December 2010, leaving the borough with a smaller portion of revenue from the parking meters than they had anticipated.

The City has argued that it has complied with December 2010 agreement, and that it has no cash to spare any boroughs as it oversees $250 million in budget cuts.

Ferrandez requested in a letter to Mayor Tremblay that the city compensate the Plateau borough with a cash advance of $2 million for the hole in their budget.

The request was rejected by Michael Applebaum, president of Montreal’s executive committee. Applebaum could not be reached for comment at the time The Daily went to press.

In his letter, Ferrandez argued that if the City did not compensate the borough for the shortfall in parking meter revenue, the borough would have to impose a special tax – $60 for homeowners and $300 for businesses – something he explained would be damaging for the small businesses that have already suffered financially this year.

The Montreal Gazette has referred to such a tax as “the ruling municipal party’s anti-business policy,” favouring residents of the Plateau at the expense of businesses in the area.

A sales representative of Kif-Kif Imports, a Mont Royal furniture store, told The Daily that the effect of such a tax would cost them “dearly.”

According to Plateau borough councillor Piper Huggins, the agreement with the City was “an agreement in black and white.”

Huggins explained that the Plateau’s crusade for funding was an issue of borough rights. “We’re fighting for the rights of all boroughs to have this agreement honoured,” she said.