Brooke-Alvinston residents facing higher water bills

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Any way you look at it, people in Brooke-Alvinston will end up paying higher water bills.
Treasurer Steve Ikert says the province wants municipalities to fund the operation of their water and sewer systems with water and sewer rates. That doesn’t happen in Brooke-Alvinston.
Last year alone, the municipality used $110,205 tax dollars to support the system. This year another $95,000 will be needed according to the treasurer.
That keeps water and sewer rates low. Only Enniskillen residents have lower bills than Brooke-Alvinston right now.
But that is about to change.
Ikert has been crunching some numbers, trying to find a water and sewer rate structure that will raise the money needed to run the system without unfairly squeezing ratepayers.
He laid out 10 different ways to change the rate structure for councillors recently. All of them would mean the water and sewer systems would be fully funded by water and sewer rates. But some place the burden of  the cost on low volume users, others on those who use the most water.
Right now, the average family of three spends about $56.73 on their water and sewer bill. Ikert has calculated new rates which could see that bill rise to $62.43 per month all the way up to $89 per month. That would make Brooke-Alvinston’s water bills the fourth highest in Lambton.
Some of the suggestions include much higher rates for large volume users such as livestock operations and schools.
Inwood residents won’t see their rates change since their water and sewer charges are billed by Enniskillen township and are significantly higher than the rest of the municipality’s.
Councillors have made no decisions yet on the new rate structure for Brooke-Alvinston.
Mayor Don McGugan says they needed time to look over the different possibilities and will likely discuss them in June.
But he says it is clear the costs will go up. “This plan will get us to self-sufficiency,” says McGugan. “There will be changes – flat rates will change. I believe we will likely end up doing something for big water users although they will still pay their fair share.”
After council decides a rate structure, McGugan says there will be a public meeting held on the issue.

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