11:30 p.m., March 22)
Public weighs in on proposed water rate changes
By Fred Sherwin
at the water and sewer rate restructuring
meeting on Monday broke into smaller groups
to discuss the proposed changes. Fred Sherwin/Photo
end residents got their first chance to respond to proposed
changes to the citys water and sewer rates on Monday
and the reaction was one of frustration and resignation.
50 people attended the meeting at the Shenkman Arts Centre,
with all but three of them residing in the rural part
everyone of the rural ratepayers were upset over the prospect
of having to pay a fee to cover the cost of maintaining
the hundreds of culverts and miles of drainage ditches
in the rural area of Ottawa.
annual cost to maintain the citys rural stormwater
infrastructure is about $8 million. Since amalgamaion
that cost has been born entirely by the citys urban
ratepayers as part of their water and sewer bill.
proposed changes to the water and sewer rates will end
that practice. The question being asked the citys
residents is how?
options were presented at Mondays meeting. The first
option is to charge every ratepayer a flat fee of $5.94
a month no matter where they live.
second option is to base the fee on property values. Under
that formula, a home with an assessed value of $395,000
would pay $7.41 a month. Larger homes would pay more and
smaller homes less.
third option is to base the fee on the surface area of
the residential portion of your property. Under that formula,
the average fee would be $9.29.
surprisingly, the majority of the residents at Mondays
meeting preferred the first option. Especcially after
they were informed that rural residents had been paying
an average of $18 a month for stormwater management services
prior to amalgamation.
2001, the burden was shifted off the rural tax bill and
onto the water and sewer bills of urban ratepayers following
a recommendation made be the amalgamation transition team.
councillor Stephen Blais says that most of the people
he has spoken to in his ward understand the need to pay
their fair share for stormwater management services and
that the flat fee is the fairest way to do that.
property owners will also be charged a $5.94 fee per dwelling
unit for stormwater management. The fee will appear on
their water and sewer bill along with several other proposed
ratepayers are currently billed for water and sewer services
solely based on their consumption. The city wants to adopt
a new rate structure combining a flat fee with a consumption
the current formula, residents pay $1.699 per cubic metre
for water and a 117% surcharge for sewer services, which
works out to $1.988 per cubic meter.
the new formula urban ratepayers would be charged an $8/mo
flat fee for water services and a $9/mo flat fee for sewer
services, along with the $5.94/mo stormwater fee, for
a combined flat fee of $23.94/mo.
consumption rate would then be lowered from $3.687 per
cubic meter combined for water and sewer services, to
$0.649 per cubic metre combined for the first six cubic
metres and $1.297 per cubic metre for anything above six
estimated net result would see low volume consumers pay
about $11 more per month; medium or average volume consumers
pay about the same amount; and high volume consumers pay
about $8 less per month.
view a copy of the citys presentation go to ottawa.ca.
approved by city council, the changes will come into effect
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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