By ROY WOOD
The chances of Oliver moving anytime soon to a metered system for sewer charges are slim after council listened with a marked lack of enthusiasm to a report on the subject from chief financial officer Doug Leahy.
The report proposed a pay-for-what-you-use method of assessing sewer fees based on the amount of water a taxpayer uses. The town moved to metered water fees 10 years ago. The theory is that a reasonably consistent proportion of the water one uses finds its way sewage treatment system. So, the more water one uses, the more liquid one puts into the sewer system. Leahy conceded after his lengthy report to the committee of the whole: “There’s going to be some winners and there’s going to be some losers,” under such a system.
There was considerable discussion about the potential inequities, for example residents who fill a swimming pool only to have the water flow into the storm sewer system when it is emptied. Leahy’s report came about because of a complaint from a resident that under a flat-rate system he is paying more for sewer service than is fair because others who produce far more liquid waste are charged the same as him.
“One resident who didn’t want to pay a second parcel tax is not a reason to change the whole system,” said Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger. “Basing sewer (charges) on water (usage) is going to have a lot of people wondering if they are being charged correctly,” he added. Councillor Dave Mattes seemed to speak for most of council when he said, “We may be on the right track, but I don’t think this (report) is the end all.” In the end, council referred the issue back to staff for more research and information.