In the middle of the merger process, a tax dispute put a little grain on the wheels of discussions between the municipalities of Porrentruy and Fontenais. At the center of the debate, the company Louis Lang located between the two municipalities – and whose headquarters are in Porrentruy – which has expanded in recent years in the territory of Fontenais. At the beginning of spring, the village of Ajoulot asked the capital to renegotiate the company’s tax distribution between the two municipalities, governed by an agreement, the last amendment of which dates from 1999 when the company was more established… in Porrentruy. The text therefore provides for a distribution key of 55.85% of the tax in favor of Porrentruy (including a 20% precipitate participation due to the location of the company’s headquarters) and 44.15% for Fontenais. However, just go there, or by clicking on the geoportal, to see that the buildings, after the various expansions in recent years, are now mostly in the Fontenais territory.
“The timing is very bad”
“So, there is room to renegotiate because many investments have been made. The conditions, which date back more than 20 years, have changed, so it is normal that we ask for a readjustment of the agreement”, defends the mayor of Fontenais Yves Petignat. Its Municipal Council therefore asked the Canton for a new estimate of the official value of the buildings. To review the agreement, this amount must have been changed by more than 100,000 francs in accordance with the provisions of the agreement. “This article makes it possible to reassess the situation in this case”, simply confirms the head of the Canton of Jura’s contributions department, Pascal Stucky. In other words, the famous 100,000 francs is therefore vastly exceeded. However, the municipality of Porrentruy has refused to renegotiate for the time being. “Porrentruy can be open to any discussion, on the other hand the moment is very, very undesirable and was not understood at all by the authorities of Bruntrutain, as we are in a phase of relations with a view to marriage. I don’t think this is the right time to ask for the renegotiation of an issue as important as taxation. If the two municipalities were merged, this issue would not even arise! “Defend the mayor of Porrentruy Gabriel Voirol.
A share of “minimum 125,000 francs” according to Fontenais
Executive Fontenais, on the other hand, considers the moment particularly well chosen, during this period of engagement, to put the matter on the table. The amounts at stake would effectively change the household’s finances, which could be important in the face of an eventual popular vote on the merger, recognizes Yves Petignat. “We heard a lot that Fontenais was heavily in debt and therefore would not be a very attractive partner for Porrentruy. With a fairer distribution of taxes, our financial state would be better. We can estimate at least an additional tax return of 125,000 francs (not counting the taxation of cross-border passengers, which follows the same distribution). It is also a good argument to tell the voters of Porrentruy that Fontenais is not so bad…”, slips the mayor of the Ajoulot village when Gabriel Voirol considers that “we cannot know who would emerge victorious or defeated from ‘a new revaluation’. However, a revaluation would not affect the tax quota or the amount paid by Louis Lang SA. Given the location of its headquarters, it pays the tax to the municipality of Porrentruy, which takes care of distribution under the terms of the agreement.
Fontenais determined to get a new quota
Another problem, this company is constantly evolving and expansions are recurring. “It’s a two-way business. In recent years it has been on the side of Fontenais but there are also projects in the territory of Porrentruy. If every time we have a new building we have to review a tax agreement, I don’t think we’re going to go ahead like that! “, says Gabriel Voirol. The municipality of Fontenais, however, is determined to move the lines ahead of a possible merger. She even recently approached a tax expert to assess potential levers for action. /jpi