Sewage treatment costs are once again causing headaches for Colwood city councillors as they struggle to figure out how residents should have to pay for initial capital costs.
The Capital Regional District has asked Colwood for $212,000 in 2013 to cover capital costs for the project. Colwood mayor Carol Hamilton said the cost is unexpected and, in her view, excessive.
Hamilton said this could amount to a 100 per cent increase in sewage costs to current sewage users in 2013 year alone. When spread out across all taxpayers in the municipality, this one charge alone amounts to approximately a two per cent tax increase, said Hamilton.
“That’s before I can look at fixing a pothole, that’s before I can tend to a garden. Where does it stop?”
Council is sending a letter to the CRD raising concerns over the costs for 2013 and laying out the impact on Colwood residents.
“We need to have an understanding, we need to have these folks hear, they need to see what it means for our community.”
Hamilton said she is not a sewer user and is as upset as anyone else that when all is said and done she could be paying as much as $300 to $400 per year for the community’s sewage treatment.
She worries this will hurt real estate in the community, as the idea of paying that much into a service not being received might turn people off moving to the community.
“There is a ripple effect of extreme proportions, in my view, with this formula.”
In December council voted to have all future capacity paid for by the entire municipality as a parcel tax. An official decision on how current users will pay for treatment is not yet solidified.
With the initial charges now know, the final decision has been put over until the next council meeting, Monday, March 11, when more information from staff should be available.