Basile Angelopoulos is leaving Laval city politics
Basile Angelopoulos, who has been city councillor for Chomedey for the past 16 years and president of the city’s executive-committee since 2009, caught a few people off guard last Tuesday evening when he announced during the April council meeting that he won’t be seeking another term in the municipal elections this November.
Privileged to serve
During a portion of the meeting reserved for councillors’ statements and special business, Angelopoulos rose from his seat to announce his decision. “I have had the pleasure and the privilege to serve my fellow citizens and I am happy and proud of what I have accomplished,” he said. “After four mandates, it is time for me to make space for others.” He said he was also pleased to have been able to serve as an elected official in a city, which is the level of government “closest to people,” he added.
Born in Nafpaktos, Greece in November 1958, Angelopoulos arrived in Canada with his parents, Ioannis and Marina, just four months later. Settling first in Winnipeg, they moved to Montreal in 1967. A Laval resident since 1986, Angelopoulos, who was first elected to Laval city council in 1997, became vice-president of the executive committee following the 2009 elections.
Citing an ancient Greek orator who praised all those who entered public service, Angelopoulos said “public life is intense and demanding,” but he added that one of his greatest wishes is that all the questions being raised now in Quebec about alleged corruption in politics “should not discourage people from becoming involved in public service, but would rather do the opposite – that it will stimulate them into making the choice of contributing to society.”
Angelopoulos said he was certain that those who are likely to follow in his footsteps to serve as the City of Laval’s future elected officials will contribute to helping make Laval an even more dynamic municipality, and “improve the city’s services and contribute to the transformation of this city of bedroom communities into an autonomous municipality in full growth.”
Referring to the district he serves, Angelopoulos said it had been his “particular privilege” to represent “the various groups, cultural communities and generally the population of Chomedey, and for the last four mandates, the last 16 years, they have granted me their confidence and it has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve them as I have served the entire population of Laval.”
Praise for opponents
While praising Laval residents who take the trouble to become involved in their city’s politics, Angelopoulos singled out those who stood in opposition to the current administration, “who have come here each month for years. Even if we are not always in agreement in our points of view, in a democracy one must always make sure that people have the right to say the opposite of what one thinks and what one does. In politics there is always room for adversity.”
He said he wished political opponents “good luck,” but said he hoped they would be aware “that I wish even more luck to my colleagues with whom I have been working for years and who will continue to want to serve the community.” With municipal politics now behind, Angelopoulos said he was planning on devoting more time to his career as a tax lawyer, to some personal projects, and to his family, and that he will be finishing his term, which concludes just before the elections in November.
Extra billing in Vimont
During the same council meeting, several members of a group of around a dozen residents from des Abeilles and de Tivoli streets in Vimont came one-by-one to the microphone during question period to complain about a special fee they’re being obliged to pay for a runoff containment basin installed in their area. The house owners are being billed for the work.
David De Cotis of the Mouvement lavallois, which has seized upon the issue, asked Mayor Alexandre Duplessis for some clarification. Duplessis said the fee is not a legal property tax, but was assessed to the owners of about 40 dwellings. He said the basin had to be installed if the houses were to be built at all. The mayor said the city has no say in the way the contractor decided to bill for his work.
Gianni Dellarocca who has a house on des Abeilles St. told the Laval News he’s being forced to pay an extra $381 per year in addition to his regular property tax. It will amount to around $8,000 over the next 15 to 20 years. Other residents are paying $500 extra annually. They claim, among other things, that failure by the city and the contractor to agree on who would pay for the retention basin resulted in the homeowners being billed for the work.
‘Not a tax,’ insists mayor
While acknowledging that the city normally bases property taxes on the installation of infrastructure like streets, sidewalks and water, Duplessis said that a containment basin is not included, and that in this case it was installed for a specific number of houses. He also said the city had to pay for the expropriation of some land to accommodate the basin.
“So it’s not a hidden tax, it’s not a legal tax,” said Duplessis. “Maybe the contractor sold to you with tax included for sidewalks, borders and street lamps, but he didn’t include the basin tax. Maybe that’s it, but the municipality cannot be responsible for that tax.”
Laval Fire Department
Also during the meeting, council approved the hiring of René Daigneault as the new assistant director of the Laval Fire Department. His contract is for five years and runs from April 8, 2013 to April 6, 2018.