Petrolia’s downtown gets water rate relief

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Downtown property owners who were surprised by higher water and sewer bills after the reconstruction of Petrolia Line will see their bills move down again.

When the town replaced the old water lines underneath the stretch of Petrolia Line between Tank and Fletcher Street, property owners faced new water rates because the size of the water line increased.

In 2015, a property owner would have paid a flat rate of either $37.76 or $60.92 depending on the size of the water line going into the building. When the new line was installed that went up to $116.34 a month.

Chief Administrative Officer Manny Baron says several downtown businesses complained to the town about the large increase and so staff took a second look.

While most of the minimum rate charge covers the fixed costs to run a water system, Baron says the higher rates were hurting businesses.

“Here we are, trying to facilitate people come downtown to open businesses and then we build up the cost for them to start…it just didn’t make sense.”

Staff recommended and town council approved a reduction in the fixed rate to $62.72 per month in the downtown core.

“We wanted to be fair,” says Baron. “We didn’t want to punish business owners because we put a bigger meter in.”

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