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Special Council Meeting July 3, 2018, RE: WATER/SEWER RATES.

The City of Rossland will be holding a special council meeting tomorrow. Amogst other things it will ratify the "backpedaling" on the flat-rate water plan (Rossland News, June 2018, 2018)

What does this mean? This is an excerpt from the agenda package for the meeting (https://rossland.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/4738?preview=5033):

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b) Flat Rate Utility Fees: Analysis on Historical Water Consumption and

Current Financial Forecast on Water & Sewer Funds

THAT Council accepts the Tender submission from Corix Water Products

Limited Partnership in the amount of $421,701, inclusive of PST and exclusive

of GST to complete the City of Rossland’s 2018 Water Meter MXU Upgrade,

and

THAT Council accepts the annual fee of $25,920 (exclusive of tax), and

THAT Council approves additional amount of funding required from the Gas

Tax Community Works Fund of $147,621, and

THAT Council directs staff to revise the Water Rate Bylaw for 2019 ‐ 2023 to

include an account administrative fee to cover the annual subscription fee,

and

THAT Council directs staff to revise the Water and Sewer Rate Bylaw for 2019

– 2023 Water and Sewer Parcel Tax Bylaw to realign the fees according to

their respective fund needs and raising the overall fees by 13% annually to

bring the funds out of a Deficit balance.

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Unfortunately, the meeting is tomorrow morning and most people will not be able to attend:

Wednesday, July 4th at 10:00 A.M. at the Rossland Public Library.

Do your math and, however you feel about this issue, make your voice heard tomorrow. Municipal elections are coming up on Saturday October 20, 2018 - question the candidates when the time comes.

I don't do Facebook so if you feel so inclined, please repost in the "Rossland talks" page, thanks.

Bring on the flat rate water fee, I dont see how we could spend close to half a million $ on upgrading those shitty water meters when we can’t even find the money to upgrade our historic ice rink to be more modern.

I’ll be there to speak against this p/c insanity!

why don't they hold a referendum?? shouldn't decision / action  be what most of the people want, and not the few? Then either way it would be settled at least to how many really want what....this feels like they intend to impose this without proper feedback being taken into account...and really???? a meeting where almost nobody can make it, where they intend to pass the resolution? 

...Nevertheless, whatever the cause, these failing meter transmission devices cannot be updated because that technology is no longer supported, no warranty exists, and must be upgraded regardless of the root of the problem...

Hmmm, Publicly funded technology 'upgrades'. I think we traveled down this road before, many times.

What problem are you trying to find a solution?

Who benefits and pays for the new technology?

What new problems are created?

The willful ignorance to even acknowledge our addiction to cheap energy is very disappointing. Without education, water metering alone, aka trade tariffs, only hurts the most vulnerable and future generations. And if your living a good life and can afford the tariff, why change is the attitude I see everywhere. A user pay system alone for public health is not sustainable.

I have found I cannot attend due to a previous commitment. Who can at the scheduled time? Seems like the fix is in!

Remember, all this money (about $150.00 from every man, woman and child in Rossland) will only generate a statistic. It will not increase available water by one drop. Of course, the statistic generated will be used by government to charge us more for the resource....

Whether you are for, or against - make your voice heard!

10.00a at the Library.

Seems like this all happend fairly quickly.  I only just read about the meeting today when I picked up Thursdays paper.  Guess I missed it.

Why was it framed as pay $400,000 and yearly $26,000  and care for the environment  or  go to flat rate water bills and we hate the environment?

Also, thought the issue with the meters was reading them now that Fortis has meters that overpower the signal.   Could we create a job for a Rosslander and save money by having someone take a scanner close enough to read the signal?

 

Seems like this all happend fairly quickly.  I only just read about the meeting today when I picked up Thursdays paper.  Guess I missed it.

Why was it framed as pay $400,000 and yearly $26,000  and care for the environment  or  go to flat rate water bills and we hate the environment?  

Also, thought the issue with the meters was reading them now that Fortis has meters that overpower the signal.   Couldn't we create a job for a Rosslander and save money by having someone take a scanner close enough to read the signal?

 

Well, I attended the meeting and we are going to pay for something that is going to do no more than providing the same data we had before from meters that aren't broken but are simply losing signal strength. (meaning reading the meters is no longer a drive-by option nothing more)

It was suggested by one counselor that we hire someone to read the meters 4 times a year and even allowing 2 minutes per meter the cost would be less than the CAD$25,000 + suggested by the hiring a third party provider. Why in hell can't we manage our own systems, isn't that why the city hires engineers.

Counsel did, however, mention that they had previously passed a resolution for the installation of zone meters to help locate some of the 36% wastage currently occurring but again that had nothing to do with the issue.

In short, we don't' need to have the existing meters upgraded from the current ones. There is probably nothing wrong with the set-up as is. We can create a job locally and keep another person in town. The current meters could be used to charge a flat rate tariff for all and be utilized to charge people for excess usage like in other places and make it prohibitive to over-use our resources.

What an absolute waste of taxpayers money for no result other than more data. If you want to save water, then Save Water, it's not rocket science. Implement something that actually achieves the desired result.

 

  I think we should use meters.  Read them a few times a year.  Charge a flat rate then adjust the bill depending on usage.  Seems way cheaper.  

Stevefrench that makes a lot of sense to me as well to charge a flat rate. Read the meter once a year.

Rebate for the concervers and another bill for the water hogs.

Best of both worlds.

Can’t believe they ran it at 10am when the majority of Rosslanders work out of town and that’s right during normal work hours. Let’s not forget this is from the same mayor that recommends everyone in Rossland own a 4x4 and a snow blower during winter seasons. So the madness continues. 

I would be happy to be the meter reader person. At a fair salary of $42,170, I could do the job for 10 years, and save the city about $260,000 in annual fees during that time. In ten years a new technology will be ready to strip the taxpayers of thier money, and we can buy that then! Yipee!

 
No madness here. Mayor Kathy and council have done a lot of extraordinary work in their term and I am grateful for it. Unfortunately, I think they got this one wrong.

I was the one who introduced and argued for the motion to reject spending this money, and to move to a flat rate system instead.  But after doing all the homework I changed my mind at the most recent vote. Here's why I think I was wrong the first time:

1) We need to stop using so much water, and

2) The only way to do that is to have working meters.

Argument 1:  Why the concern over water? We have tons of it, right?  Yes, we do.  But after years of decline, water use in Rossland has been going up the last few years. In 2007 when all this started, our peak daily use had risen to around 6500 cubic metres/day. If we get back there, it means adding another filter to the treatment plant.  Ballpark cost to taxpayers: $1.5 million.

Also, in the next few years Rossland, Trail and Warfield will split the costs of a new sewage treatment plant. Estimated costs over $50 million.  Most of it will be grants.  Rossland's share roughly 3 million. But that share is directly determined by how much water we send to the plant - so reducing indoor water use saves us big bucks.

Argument 2: The current meters don't transmit - haven't for over a year.  So it's either replace the transmitter in them, send around meter readers that walk right up to them, or go to fixed rate charges.

Our system has a huge leakage issue - estimated 36% of water from the treatment plant doesn't get to any user. So if we need to shave off peak usage, need to address leakage. Residential meters can tell us how much was used, and zone meters tell us how much went into a zone, so we can quickly get a good picture of where the leaks are. Flat rate won't do that, and a meter reader's periodic data will be crappy at it.

Right now the rates are stupid - I could triple my usage in a month and it would cost me less than $12 more.  Before the next cycle we are going to change that to make big users pay enough to notice.  Can't do that with flat rate.

Peak use happens during the daytime in August. The new meters can do time-of-day pricing, seasonal pricing. Can't do that using a walk-around meter reader taking measaurements every couple of months. Obviously not with flat rate either.

At the end of the day my back of envelope calculation was each connection was going to have to pay just under $39 extra per year to finance the new tech ($422K) over ten years, and the yearly $26K. If I look at the avoided costs of increasing water use, I figure it's worth it.

I agree we need to use less water.

some things that the city could do is not have sprinklers running for hours on an all ready soaked, swampy field at RSS, plus... the leaky pool that wastes a ton of water.

I agree kcmountain. Rain sensors should be used on all sprinkler systems. I noticed this morning on Plewman and Kirkup the new grass area running while raining. 

 

Good suggestion on the city sprinkler system.  Will talk to PW about it.  The pool - yes, you're probably right on that.  I think it was last re-grouted like 10 years ago when it was a community pool, before it became a City facility. Also a good suggestion.  Poor pool needs some TLC in a bunch of ways.  But not cheap.

First FortisBC installed Smart Meters to promote lower electricity consumption using a non-opt out consent process. Many people have experienced hikes in their utility bill after the “smart” meter installation. Now the city will be installing Smart Meters, aka Trespassing Technology, that can record and transmit data for the purpose of surveillance of personal activities in the private dwellings and or workplaces of all utility customers. Read FLAT VS METERED ANALYSIS on page 21 of the Special Meeting Agenda.

When the cloud based technology and potential access to personal information metering technology changes, which does by design, this entire budgeting process will be repeated. Meanwhile, those that can afford it, will continue on without changing their water consumption habits.

This proposed new Trespass Technology to be installed for water monitoring will create new problems, while not solving the original problem intended. Where did I read that before?

Is the city planning on purchasing more water somewhere with the new water rate hikes? Or are these rate increases simply to pay for the water system today? We are told the assumed increase in revenue generated by the high users would keep the base rate low. For now, until they might stop consuming so much water. Kind of ironic situation.

A simple prohibition of the use of city water for lawn watering might work, if reducing water consumption is the objective. Oh but my property value will be lower. I want my neighbors to envy my yard. I don’t want to look like I don’t care. My kids will be safer playing at home. The excuses around reducing consumption of all forms are endless.

I would imagine another less radical reform and that is where people don't use money as a replacement for intelligence.

So instead of spending nearly half a million for a system that doesn’t guarantee reduced water usage when the population of Rossland is increasing YoY, why don’t we get a loan for 1.5 million and build a new water treatment plant. Go knock on some doors at government, after all, Rosslands population is only increasing so why not scale to capacity and ask Howard for some cash flow to supply water to those snow makers?!? Really seems like a no brainer, but this is again this is same city that refuses to reconcile all the accounts water meters for the last year that have been unreadable. Seems to me that some of us more conservative water users should be owed a refund. But what do know, we’re just a middle income family and I don’t hold a PhD lol

Good point about the snow making machines!!! What a waste. 

lets make Howard pay!... I like it.

So I wonder how many residents checked their last water bill then and didn’t even notice that the last year has just been estimates, yet they won’t even reconcile accounts. In all my life I have never seen such a shady municipality operating with such secretive processes. What happened to transparency? How about we ask for an audit of the cities books because I seriously doubt any other city or village operates this secretively.

It is absolutly Inane that the city should be spending this money, whether it is from reserves, gas tax etc. as what they save down the raod can't come close to the cost ( citizens pay all the cost one way or another.)

As far as saving on sewer flow to the treatment plant, the water outside the house on the yard doesn't flow in the domestic sewer, 

Also when Rossland was FORCED to water meters, it's residential beauy has turned it into the poorest looking city from Vancouver to Cagary. I do admit the main street is nice.

Most people are now water concious and try to conserve, so further more the city does not need to spend all this money when our taes are over the top already. 

We have a lot of pensioners on FIXED Pension who have hor had a raise for 10 to 30 years and are struggling to live in this city. 

I can'y attend the meeting because of the hour, but I DEAD against it and if it goes through, no one on council will ever get my vote again.

I have been led to believe that the new Orpher reservoir has not been used (or very little ) to date and just sits there. Granted, it is there for emergency, but along with the grant money, taxpayers paid a lot of bucks for it. Why can we not use some of it to improve the apperance of the Goldenn City that litterally really becamme the GOLDEN City when the water meters were installed.