Those seeking new connections to water and sewer systems in Loyalist Township will pay 6.28 per cent more in 2019 after the municipality approved an increase in its impost fees last week.
The increases are in line with council’s direction in 2014 after it engaged BMA Consulting Inc. to complete a financial plan for the services and review water and sewer rates and connection charges. At that time, council elected to raise fees over a four-year period to pay for the capital costs of maintaining its water and sewage works.
In 2019, there will be a $12,910 charge to connect a detached single, semi-detached dwelling, or duplex. Apartment units will cost $10,131 and other multiple units, $11,421 each. Non-residential users with a daily rate will pay $29,956.
Councillor Penny Porter said she understood council’s intent at the time to raise the fees by eight per cent a year with 2019 being the final year of the plan, but she said she would have liked to see periodic reviews of how the plan was working. Porter wondered if there had been costs savings in the operations of the utilities and asked if it wouldn’t be more prudent to wait for such a report and then decide by how much to increase impost fees in 2019.
She moved to take no action on a report before, which proposed an amending bylaw. Carol Parks agreed with the idea of waiting for a report as she said it was an election issue..
In response to a question from Porter, the township’s infrastructure services director Dave Thompson said a study reviewing the impact of the four-year plan would be conducted early this year and would likely be due in May.
Deputy mayor Jim Hegadorn and Mayor Ric Bresee each said they did not wish to wait for approval.
“I’m not going to support the motion, simply because I believe increases need to be carried out as per the original plan,” Hegadorn said. “If I remember correctly, the increases we were imposing at that time were minimal to begin with, covering the bare minimum to keep water and sewer moving forward. To not stay on that plan at this time, I don’t think it would be prudent and it might end up being a bigger pill to swallow.”
Added Bresee: “Staying on course and continuing on that plan until we have a new plan would be prudent. Not doing that, I believe, would be problematic for our asset management plan and could impact our licence in the long run.”
In a recorded vote, councillors defeated Porter’s effort to not approve the increases. She and Parks were in favour. Hegadorn, Bresee, Ron Gordon and Nathan Townsend were against. Mike Budarick abstained.
Councillors supported a subsequent motion to pass the amending bylaw.