“All MRC taxpayers must do their part to pay for the future arena”

MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS. The former municipal councilor of Magog, Michel Bombardier, returned to council on May 16 to demand tax fairness between Magogois and all other taxpayers of the MRC de Memphrémagog, who will also use the future arena in two ice creams from La Ruche.

The funding from Magogois worries him even if this infrastructure is largely subsidized by Quebec and Ottawa to the tune of $18 million. He urges Magogois elected officials to ensure that users from surrounding municipalities pay their “fair share”.

Mr. Bombardier estimates between 30% and 40% the proportion of adult and school-age users at the current arena. “Taxpayers from other cities must contribute between 30% and 40% of the total bill, he warns. It will be nonsense if it is only the Magogois who take the money out of their pockets. The arena will be called Memphremagog, so the whole region has to pay.”

He cites the example of Mont-Orford where for a few years, the municipalities of the MRC contributed to maintain the downhill skiing and golf facilities.

Mr. Bombardier also invites elected officials to convince municipal neighbors to defray in a similar proportion the annual maintenance costs and the hours of ice already promised by Magog. He estimates this sum to be shared between $850,000 and $1.5 million per year over 20 years.

He also fears that the City’s share of $9 million and the $8 million loan to the Aréna Memphrémagog organization endorsed by Magog will negatively affect the Municipality’s credit rating. “A reduction in our rating will affect all our other borrowings and the projects will cost more,” he warns.

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In addition, Mayor Nathalie Pelletier does not share her former colleague’s opinion on the credit rating, but she says she is very sensitive to the sharing of future costs between Magogois and their neighbors. “The MRC and the other Municipalities wish to contribute,” she adds. We are currently discussing among ourselves to set an amount.

“We are aiming for fairness, but we must take into account the fact that the people of Stanstead frequent their arena more and those of the Canton of Hatley skate more on the Sherbrooke side, specifies the mayor. Not all citizens of the MRC will use the future arena.”