Despite their city’s record surpluses and an 8% tax cut in 2022, 16 years after the splits, residents of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures are still by far the most taxed in the Quebec City metropolitan area.
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The Augustinians still top the charts for the highest tax bill in the conurbation, while those of L’Ancienne-Lorette receive the lowest bill.
For a home valued at $300,000, for example, Augustinians pay $365 more per year than a resident of L’Ancienne-Lorette and $344 more than Cap-Rouge or Beauport (see the table) according to data collected by The newspaper†
It should be noted that in Quebec there are still significant variations in the tax bill depending on the sector one lives in.
Twenty years after the mergers imposed by the state of Quebec, the debts of the old cities have not all been wiped out.
A slow catch up
The mayor of Saint Augustine, Sylvain Juneau, has already promised a tax freeze until 2025.
He hopes to close the gap with the other cities and return to the average within “a few years”.
“It won’t take 20 years… I, I’m a master here, but what will it be like elsewhere?” I don’t know. Therefore, it is difficult to say number of years. †
Between 2015 and 2020, taxes in Saint Augustine increased by more than 40% (including the 25% increase in one fell swoop in 2015).
The City of Quebec is partly responsible for the situation because of the excessive quota that it has imposed on the split-off cities for years.
But Saint Augustine is also responsible for his own accident, the mayor analyzes.
“Yes, there was too much invoicing, but with us, half of the problems come from within. It is the legacy of the past’, he analyzes, pointing out the old administration and the ‘financial divide’ linked to various infrastructures such as the defunct Center Jean-Marie-Roy or the Activital.
However, his city has reversed the situation and is currently swimming in surpluses.
On Tuesday night, we learned that Saint-Augustin alone had generated nearly $42 million in surplus for 2021. The city now has an $87.5 million “pillow” in the bank as its debt dwindles. It totaled $53.8 million.
Mayor Juneau nevertheless closes the door on any new tax cuts, a “false good idea,” says the first person who advocates full repayment of the debt.
The lowest bill
According to the mayor of L’Ancienne-Lorette, Gaétan Pageau, the figures for Log puts things in perspective as citizens demand a refund of overpaid taxes since 2008 through the share paid to Quebec.
He repeats to anyone who wants to hear that their tax bill is already the lowest.
Former mayor Émile Loranger, he says, “has always been committed to respecting citizens’ ability to pay. I worked with him for seven years, I saw him go. The goal is always to provide the most services and take as little money as possible out of people’s pockets.”
Taxes for a $300,000 Home (Quebec Metropolitan Area)
*Residents of downtown Quebec City (+$129), Loretteville (+$16), Val-Bélair (+$8) and Sainte-Foy (+$1) must pay prior to the 2002 merger.
Note: Some amounts have been rounded to make the table easier to read.