Water, Sewer & Stormwater Rate Structure Review

As many of you may have noticed last week, the home at 5514 Manotick Main Street, known locally as the Falls House, was torn down. This was done so after much effort to avoid that exact scenario. Unfortunately, the home did not meet the criteria for heritage designation and the condition was deteriorating. Please visit rideaugoulbourn.ca/fallshouse for the full story on the property as well as next steps. On that page, you will also find panoramic pictures of each room in the house as well as a video tour of the home that I took a couple of weeks ago. This will give you the full picture of the home and all of the information that led us to this point.

Stormwater Charge

In recent weeks, I have spoken at length about the stormwater charge that was approved by the Environment Committee last week. It has been a difficult issue to deal with for everyone impacted. I predicted as much in May 2015 when the item first came to our attention and again when the public consultation kicked off in March of this year. My main focus the entire time has been the facts. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of misinformation out there on this subject. If you still have questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact me. We also have information available on this website (click here) that provides all of the background.

There are, however, just a few points that I want to reiterate as they keep coming up in emails that I have been receiving and comments on various radio shows and whatnot. First, this has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you flush your toilet into a sewer system or a septic system. Stormwater is completely unrelated from sewerage services. They were in separate budgets prior to amalgamation and that never should have changed. As I mentioned last week, Council made that decision to put them together in 2001 and it was the wrong one.

I have also heard comments that this is a “tax grab” to increase revenues for the City. I completely understand that point because, for many of us in the rural area, we will begin to pay an extra charge on our tax bill. However, as I have also mentioned previously, those who are already paying for stormwater on their sewer bill will see a modest reduction in their bill.  Therefore, these two changes will offset each other. The City spends approximately $42M city-wide on stormwater maintenance and that budget will remain at that number. With the two offsetting numbers, there will be no increase in revenues as a result of the stormwater charge.

The final clarification I wanted to make is in response to comments that the revenue from this charge will just go toward urban projects that will not benefit the rural area. It will not. As mentioned above, the amount collected is just being shifted from water and sewer ratepayers to taxpayers. All fees collected in the rural area will go toward maintenance in the rural area.  In fact, the City spends $8M annually in the rural area and the new fee will collect $2M. None of your stormwater taxes will service anyone but rural residents.

I hope this helps provide further clarity. As always, I am available to chat about this further.  We also spend time at each of our town hall meetings discussing this very issue. Our Manotick meeting is on November 15th and our Kars meeting is on November 23rd.

Community Dancing in Manotick

If you are interested in a fun, interactive session of dance, laughter & music, come to the Manotick United Church on Friday, November 4th and join the Ever Hopeful Stringband and caller Pippa Hall for a family-friendly, alcohol-free evening of community dancing, including circles, squares and contras. Each dance is taught and the whole family is invited. The event runs from 7:00pm until 9:30pm and begins with simple dances, followed by dances that build on skills as the evening progresses. The cost to attend is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 12-18 and children under 12 are free.  There is, however, a family maximum charge of $20. For more information call 613-692-4576 or visit http://dance.manotick.net.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.