A group of multiple dwelling unit (MDU) owners is breathing a collective sigh of relief after South Glengarry council chose to revisit its water billing plans in Glen Walter and the Lancaster area.
At its Aug. 8 meeting, council was ready to give second reading to a bill that would have imposed one minimum billing and flat fee on each unit in an MDU.
Under the status quo, water and sewage users in Lancaster and Glen Walter pay a minimum of $803 per year, following a 15 per cent water rate increase the township agreed to in July. About half that total accounts for the flat rate service fee while the other half is for minimum consumption, a maximum of 19.3 cubic metres per two months.
Right now, an MDU with eight units would pay at least $803, plus the extra water used above the 19.3 cubic metres. The water rate is $1.69 per cubic metre
while the sewage rate is $1.26 per cubic metre.
Under the proposed system, that same eight-unit MDU would be charged the same rate per unit, which works out to at least $6,424 per year.
Dean Slaney, who owns a 12unit MDU on Military Road in Lancaster, says that his building would be taxed 12 times the present rate. He says he’d like to build more MDUs in South Glengarry but can’t right now because there’s too much fluctuation.
Mr. Slaney acted as a spokesperson for his fellow MDU owners, who pointed out that commercial entities like the Flying J use more taps than MDUs yet are only paying one minimum fee. They also pointed out that corporations like LanChar Residence and Chartwell Residence are enjoying a 3-1 rate (one minimum per three units) and that several single dwelling units had multiple taps ( two
bathrooms, two toilets, laundry facilities, outdoor hookups) but would still be paying the same minimum rate as a unit in an MDU that might have as little as three taps.
Mr. Slaney’s group earned the sympathy of council. Councillor Trevor Bougie said he’d like to visit any discrepancies in the system while Mayor Ian McLeod pointed out that the proposal was based on the township’s desire to have a uniform rate throughout the municipality.
“We’re trying to get a system that if you’re in one location in Glen Walter and a similar one in Lancaster, you pay the same rate,” he said. “How you achieve that is what we’re trying to do.”
The mayor pointed out that the resolution before council that night was simply a second reading to amend the water rate bylaw. Clerk Marilyn LeBrun said that if the bylaw was going to be changed then it should be defeated.
And defeated it was. Not one elected official voted for the amendment. Mr. Slaney was happy with the development. “They decided to look back and find something a little more fair.”