Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Nov. 22


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
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Tim Tierney



 

 

 



(Updated 11:30 p.m., March 22)
Public weighs in on proposed water rate changes

By Fred Sherwin
O
rléans Online

Participants at the water and sewer rate restructuring meeting on Monday broke into smaller groups to discuss the proposed changes. Fred Sherwin/Photo

East end residents got their first chance to respond to proposed changes to the city’s water and sewer rates on Monday and the reaction was one of frustration and resignation.

About 50 people attended the meeting at the Shenkman Arts Centre, with all but three of them residing in the rural part of Cumberland.

Nearly 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.

The annual cost to maintain the city’s rural stormwater infrastructure is about $8 million. Since amalgamaion that cost has been born entirely by the city’s urban ratepayers as part of their water and sewer bill.

The proposed changes to the water and sewer rates will end that practice. The question being asked the city’s residents is how?

Five options were presented at Monday’s meeting. The first option is to charge every ratepayer a flat fee of $5.94 a month no matter where they live.

The 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.

The 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.

Not surprisingly, the majority of the residents at Monday’s 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.

In 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.

Cumberland 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.

Urban 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 changes.

Urban 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 fee.

Under 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.

Under 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.

The 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 cubic metres.

The 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.

To view a copy of the city’s presentation go to ottawa.ca. Once approved by city council, the changes will come into effect in 3017.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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