They’re still talking.
Mayor Kevin Marriott says Enniskillen has made a counter offer to Petrolia to bring down water rates in the rural area.
The negotiations started after Enniskillen began talking with officials from the Lambton Area Water Supply System about the possibility of buying water from LAWSS instead of Petrolia.
LAWSS has offered to provide water to the community for $1.13 per cubic meter with only inflation rate increases for the next 20 years. Currently, Enniskillen residents pay $1.59 per cubic meter from Petrolia. That could save Enniskillen ratepayers $309,000 per year.
But the Town of Petrolia offered to lower its rates in an effort to keep Enniskillen as a local user.
Enniskillen Township then began negotiating with the Town and Marriott says has since made a counter proposal.
While it is negotiating, Marriott says staff is investigating how a deal with LAWSS would work.
While a formal study hasn’t been done, Marriot says preliminary estimates show the capital costs to hook into the LAWSS system would not be unmanageable. “We could likely do it without raising taxes,” he says. “We figure it could be paid back in eight to 10 years.”
Marriott says it is a difficult issue. “You have to be good neighbours but you have to get the best deal for your constituents,” he says noting there has been mixed reaction to the idea of moving to LAWSS. “There are people who say our water rates have gone up too fast and we need a break.
“People appreciate the agreement with Petrolia – without Petrolia water we wouldn’t have water at this point. But it is also important that Enniskillen rate payers not feel like their not paying too much.”