Road sign warning of flooded road on Belmont Avenue in Ottawa South on April 15, 2014. PAT MCGRATH
Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
Funding a controversial stormwater fee partially through taxes could be one option City of Ottawa staff consider before making a recommendation in September, according to council’s environment chair.
But Coun. David Chernushenko says residents who currently aren’t contributing money to the stormwater program won’t be let off the hook.
“I think the city has been clear from the outset that if you are receiving a service, you need to contribute towards it,” Chernushenko said Tuesday. “What is the fair amount that you’re contributing towards it? That’s the hard part to work out.”
The staff proposal to change the water and sewer rate structure, including a plan to recoup funds for stormwater services, was originally expected to be tabled this month. Results from a series of public consultations convinced staff to come up with more options.
The city plans to release a report on the public consultations in the coming weeks.
Most of the fuss is over the city’s plan to charge about 45,000 landowners who don’t receive a municipal water bill a new fee to pay for stormwater infrastructure, such as storm sewers and ditches. Only water and sewer ratepayers have been contributing to the city’s annual $42-million stormwater budget.
The city came up with two ways on which to base a stormwater fee: property assessments and residential property types. A third option is the same flat fee for everyone.
It’s clear people don’t believe the city has come up with a fair way to charge people for stormwater services, Chernushenko said.
That’s what has prompted the city to brainstorm more options.