It’s a question many have asked at town hall meetings in the West Island since the beginning of the Charbonneau Commission hearings: how are we going to get our money back? Last Monday in Beaconsfield, resident Richard Huza posed it to mayor David Pollock.
“I think we can safely say they have squandered some of our money due to their own mismanagement. Money that we've been paying over the years has just evaporated. I'm a resident of Beaconsfield. I'm not a resident of Montreal, I've made that choice. What actions can we take legally to go out there and get this money back?,” he asked before suggesting the city join together with other de-merged cities of the West Island to engage in legal action.
Pollock answered that the Association of Suburban Municipalities is reviewing the issue right now and that the mayors are seeking legal advice.
“Mayor Applebaum today (last Monday) talked about launching legal action anyone involved in this. It's just not right. Personally, I feel that the police investigation should have been allowed to continue. It bothers me that people will go to the Charbonneau commission and testify and they can't be charged for anything that they say. And people might get away scot-free,” he said.
The mayor added that the de-merged cities will have to get their ducks in a row legally to try and recover the lost money.
“So we are looking at legal options but half your taxes go to Montreal and as a group we pay 20 per cent of all the agglomeration expenses but as a city itself, we're better off getting a consensus of these de-merged communities will take action. We can't just go off and sue individuals or contractors. We have to act in a circumspect fashion and make sure that the organizations take this seriously and get this money back.”