Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Nov. 17


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 



(Updated 3:30 p.m., April 17)
City to consider alternative water rate options

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A city review of the municipal water and sewer rate structure is expexted to be delayed at least a month while staff explore other options aimed at addressing rural concerns.

The review contains three options aimed at separating the cost of consumption from the cost of providing and maintaining water, waste water and storm-water infrastructure.

All three options would establish a separate water rate and sewer surcharge for residents on municipal water that wiuld multiplied by the actual water they use.

All residents would then pay a single flat rate to cover the infrastructure costs. The amount paid by urban and suburban residents would be used to pay for water and sewer infrastructure and the amount be rural residents would used to cover the maintainance costs of culverts, as well as stormwater drainage ditches and management ponds.

How the flat rate might be applied is covered in the three options. Option one is based on property value. Option two is based on the size of the ratepayer’s property. And the third option, which is the one being recommended by staff, is a single flat rate with everyone paying the same amount.

During a series of public consultations held over the past month, only a handful of urban residents objected tothe single flat rate.

That stands in stark contrast to the reaction of the city’s rural residents who have showed up in large numbers to voice their opposition to any new charge appearing on their tax bill, despite the fact that they were paying for stormwater infrastructure prior to amalgamation as part of their municipal taxes.

The charge was dropped and the cost of rural stormwater infrastructure was transferred to urban and suburban ratepayers when the city was amalgamated in 2001, saving rural residents $75-$100 a year depending on where they lived in.

The proposed flat rate would cost all residents about $72 a year. The two other options would cost rural residents even more.

It’s hard to imagine how staff will be able to come up with another option that would reduce the impact on rural residents without bringing in a dual flat rate – a cheaper one for rural residents and a higher one for urban ratepayers, or eliminating the rural rate altogether.

Both alternatives would draw the ire of urban ratepayers and the opposition of urban and suburban city councillors.

The job of finding a workable solution that also takes into account the objective of fairness is up to staff who have been given an extra month to find an alternative option.

(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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