Environmental Changes Equal Short-term Pain for Long-term Gain

Some County residents will see an increase in water bills coupled with carbon tax

For Lottie Lake, Ashmont, and Mallaig residents, the new year brought increased immediate expenses, hopefully to be offset by long term savings. “It is just unfortunate timing,” that the water rate increases for these communities are coming into effect shortly after the provincial carbon tax, acknowledges County of St. Paul CAO, Sheila Kitz.

However, Kitz notes that “In 2012 council developed a water policy moving towards full cost recovery by residents. At that time, a conscious decision was made not to increase rates until the new water source was operational.”  Notification was sent to affected residents last week, and changes to their bills will come into effect in April.

Some water bills will be approximately four times higher than currently, but if the users are not charged for the total cost, then general taxes would have to be tapped while only a small number of county residents would benefit. “One of the advantages the county hopes residents will see is that water from Beverly Channel was hard, but the higher quality water will reduce the frequency with which fixtures and appliances like dishwashers and washing machines will have to be replaced,” says Kitz, adding that in the long run higher rates should be offset by lower repair and replacement costs.