The fate of the Center Georges-Vézina is still uncertain. (Photo: Trium Media Archives)
When asked about the upcoming renewal of the fiscal compact with municipalities, the mayor of Saguenay reiterated her main financial demands to the government. Julie Dufour wants more money from the provincial government to boost the city’s economic development and maintain its infrastructure.
“Since I took office at the helm of the local council, we have experienced a turning point and I commend the local councilors for their fiscal discipline. We plan what we want to do to be able to maintain the infrastructure we already have. Saguenay needs to invest $1 billion within ten years to maintain its operations. We’re talking about water, sewage, roads and municipal infrastructure. We need economic growth,” she explains.
According to her, good news is coming, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We will soon open an industrial port zone project office with M$105 million from the province. We start by installing the water supply and preparing the property. In the longer term, a seven-year plan will also be presented to all elected officials outlining the necessary investments from which to borrow in the current economic context.”
However, Quebec must do its part, says the mayor, and address once and for all the underfunding paid to Saguenay, especially with regard to police services.
“The citizens of Saguenay pay for 100% of their police service through property taxes. Compared to the municipalities covered by the Sûreté du Québec, the government should inject $17 million annually into Saguenay for equity. My request is clear and I have addressed it to the Minister in charge of Municipal Affairs and the Region, Andrée Laforest.”
Julie Dufour also wants municipalities to receive a share of the royalties paid to the hydroelectric fund. “We participate and want our share.”
Financing based on population
The government should also stop funding population-related services because it puts Saguenay at a disadvantage, she said.
“We demand that the programs be broken down by the number of infrastructures and not by people. We have almost the same water and wastewater infrastructure as Montreal, although not in terms of the financial resources to maintain it. If we don’t have more money, we’ll never get there.”
As for the federal government, the mayor supports the motion of MP Mario Simard, which calls for a recurring donation of $1.5 million in Jonquière and Chicoutimi to support socio-economic development.
“I think his demands are completely justified. I would also like to tell you that the city of Saguenay at the provincial level has also lost a lot of funding in recent years. When we closed the Regional Conferences of Elected Officials (CRÉ) and all related programs, it was a tragedy for Saguenay. »
By Jean-François Desbiens
Total web buff. Student. Tv enthusiast. Evil thinker. Travelaholic. Proud bacon guru.