CORNWALL – The corporation is facing a $41 million backlog in repairs to water mains within Cornwall.
The city averages about 42 water main breaks a year, Infrastructure GM John St. Marseille told councillors Monday in reviewing the water and sewer budget Monday.
That pressure adds to the maintaining of the 279 kilometers of water mains in the city, 72 kilometers of which already needs work.
Right now, the city’s target level of service is around 50 per cent, where the city would like to reach the 70th or 80th percentile.
That work is fuelling the proposed 1.43 per cent increase in 2017 would see the average water and sewer bill go up $8 to $11 per year, depending on how many bathrooms and outside taps you have and whether you have a swimming pool.
That backlog also fueled discussion about the reserve funds and whether what levels the city should have.
For operational reserves, the waterworks reserve is just over $4 million and the wastewater reserve is just over $3.9 million.
CFO Tracey Bailey said the reserves are in line with the policy for reserve accounts.
“A lot of taxpayers in Cornwall would like to have that reserve in their bank accounts,” Coun. Andre Rivette said.
Rivette tried to bring a motion forward for the city to absorb the combined budget increase of $134,706.
“There’s hardship out there…we’re not being fair to the taxpayer. We can assist in not bringing increases when they’re not really needed,” he said.
Rivette’s motion didn’t get a seconder. “It will come back at full council,” Rivette warned.
The mayor suggested the budget shouldn’t be passed right away.
“The challenge is going to be the general budget. We should go through the first three meetings (of the general budget) before we pass this (water and sewer) budget,” Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy said. The mayor is not on the committee but added his input.
The meeting was adjourned with no decision was made on the water and sewer budget. The core budget committee will be meeting for three days next week.