02/05/2013 08:28 EST | Updated 04/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Tax hike fought by Montrealers

A group of Montrealers has banded together to fight the city's planned property tax hike and are calling on officials to consider a three-year tax freeze instead.

On average, Montrealers are facing a 2.2 per cent tax increase compared to 2012.

The increase is less than the 3.3 per cent tax hike originally proposed by former mayor Gérald Tremblay in October.

Mayor Michael Applebaum responded to public outcry by reducing the planned property taxes.

But Pierre Pagé, spokesman for Montreal Pour Tous (Montreal for all), says that's not enough.

The group has been putting up posters expressing opposition to the tax increases on telephone poles.

Pagé said his tax bill increased from last year by $363, or approximately 7.9 per cent.

He explained this is because he lives in Montreal's Mile End neighbourhood, a region of Montreal currently undergoing gentrification.

Pagé said the Mile End's commercial success does not favour residents like himself, who moved to the neighbourhood to raise a family, not to make money.

"Just think of the low income workers, the artists, pensioners, students, who don't have a raise in their revenues," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Danielle Pilette is a professor in the department of urban studies and a specialist in municipal financing at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQÀM).

She said the tax rate in Montreal is actually low in comparison to some other cities including Laval and Québec City.

"It's a fair deal, because we have a lot of services [in Montreal]," she said.

But Pagé said the city could do more to help residents avoid big fees.

"We agree that Montreal is not the worst place, but there's big space for improvement," he said.

Montreal Pour Tous is holding a public forum on municipal tax hikes at Montreal's Rialto Theatre on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.