Sharing cost of water bill, don’t panic
Norma Mackie doesn’t mind paying for water, as long as she is only paying for what she uses.
The Cambridge pensioner lives in Brock Place in one of three units on a cross-lease section.
She currently pays $386.11 per year for water through her rates, the same as everybody else in the Waipa District.
Waipa District Council is in the process of installing water meters at all district properties. About 8000 of about12,000 have been installed. About 1000 are on cross-lease sections.
Once all are installed, many homes on cross-lease sections will be required to split water costs evenly between the number of properties on the cross lease, regardless of how many people live in each home.
Mackie said this is unfair, because she will have to split water costs with two other units.
‘‘I don’t mind paying for water. I just don’t want to pay for anybody else’s, and the feeling is mutual across town.’’
Mackie said she received a letter from council which said crosslease properties that don’t have separate water connections would have to share water costs.
‘‘It’s either split the cost with my neighbours or individually pay for a plumber to install the pipe work required for my own meter,’’ Mackie said.
Clive Garish lives on Carlisle St in Leamington and will have to share his water bill with a neighbour.
He also doesn’t mind paying for water but thinks sharing a meter is unfair. He’s also worried about the resale value of his property.
‘‘I’m sure the agent didn’t know about this when she sold me the house, but it’s public now, people know about it.’’
His research suggested it would cost about $2000 for a plumber to put in separate water connections.
It’s not always technically or legally possible to put a single water meter on every complex property, the council’s project delivery manager Lorraine Kendrick said.
For these properties council, will install one water meter on the property boundary and the costs of water use will be equally split between the number of properties it serves, she said.
‘‘Council’s preference would be to have one meter per household, but it’s a historical issue. We want the best outcome for these residents, but we’re stuck, too.’’
Council will have a team working with people on the issue over next 14 months.
Contact council, 0800 924 723 or water.meters @waipadc.govt.nz.
All water meters are expected to be installed by the middle of 2017. Billing begins, 2018.
People will receive at least two mock bills, which will indicate costs.
The council has acknowledged the concerns from property owners and tenants and a team has been put in place to work through complex issues about water meters and some crosslease properties in the district.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest said the suggestion of splitting costs evenly has caused ‘‘genuine concern’’ for some people and he understood why but let’s not ‘‘panic.’’
He had asked staff to hold off moving to a split cost solution and instead put a team in place to work through issues on a property-by-property basis.
‘‘Let’s work through the issues and see if other solutions might be possible, and their costs,’’ he said.
Norma Mackie will have to split water costs evenly with two other units.