Water taxes soar
Several South Glengarry residents will see substantial increases in their water bills after municipal council voted to increase rates at its last meeting.
In Glen Walter, bills will rise from $804 per year to $1,077.61 in 2018. In 2019, it’s expected to rise to $2,332.
Lancaster residents, currently paying $804 for their water and sewer services, will see their bills rise to $1,105 this year and to $1,265 in 2019. Users in Green Valley and Kennedy Redwood will also see increases, though nowhere near as extreme. In Green Valley, sewer users will see their fees jump from $435 to $505 in 2018 and $575 the next year. There will be further two per cent increases in 2020 and 2021. For Kennedy Redwood water users, the fee will jump from $1,016 to $1,077 this year and $1,138 in 2019. There will be further two per cent increases in 2020 and 2021.
Mayor Ian McLeod says that the hikes are necessary because the township’s 25-year-old water system is in need of an upgrade. Infrastructure needs to be replaced, he adds, noting that funding comes from system users, not the provincial or federal governments.
Not everyone on council was in favour of the increases.
Calling for a recorded vote, Councillor Trevor Bougie was adamant that the higher rates be phased in. He suggested a $10 increase per billing period plus a two per cent increase for Glen Walter and Lancaster, calling the initial totals “unreasonable.”
But Councillor Lyle Warden disagreed, saying that “eventually (council) will have to man up and ask residents to pay their share.” He said that the township hasn’t increased its rates for the past eight years and that not increasing them now will hurt the municipality in the long run.
At first, Deputy-Mayor Frank Prevost said a $300 increase in one year is a lot to handle but he eventually sided with Mr. Warden and his other colleagues.
Council approved the increases by a vote of 4-1 with Mr. Bougie being the lone dissenter.
Councillor Bill McKenzie noted this isn’t the first time council has approved a major rate increase. He said that the last time, the rates were increased by 97 per cent, adding that Glen Walter’s projected increase of 34 per cent is “reasonable.”
According to township figures, Glen Walter’s water and sewer system has a projected future annual expense of $4.5 million. Right now, its annual operating expenses are $385,000. Divide that by the community’s 358 connections and it comes out to $1,075 per year. When you factor the $4.5 million in there and pay that off over 10 years, it comes to $2,332 per user per year.