Water, sewer budget fails to pass two votes

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Two proposals for Cornwall’s 2017 water and sewer budget failed to pass Monday night.

After a lengthy discussion, councillors defeated a plan to pass along a 1.43 per cent increase on the water and sewer budget or an extra $8 to $11 a year for the average homeowner.

Some councillors felt the taxpayer shouldn’t be footing the bill due to a shift in the burden from the industrial and commercial sector. A major reason for the residential increase is a loss of Sensient Flavors as a major water user.

After the budget was defeated, Coun. Andre Rivette proposed a zero per cent increase for homeowners by taking roughly $236,000 from the water and sewer reserve accounts.

Some councillors, like Denis Carr, felt the city shouldn’t be depleting those reserves, when some major failures of the water system could happen at any moment.

According to city figures, the reserve accounts are over funded by $700,000.

Meanwhile, the city has a nearly $48 million backlog in water and sewer work.

But Rivette’s motion was also defeated, leaving the city deadlocked on getting a budget passed Monday night.

Council will meet Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 at 6 p.m. to tackle the water and sewer budget again. Coun. Carilyne Hebert was not in attendance for the two crucial votes tonight.

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