Waterworks hike for Lancaster, Glen Walter on hold pending review

(Newswatch Group/File)

LANCASTER – Double digit increases for waterworks customers in Lancaster and Glen Walter, set to take effect next month, are on hold pending a review by the municipality.

The increases to water and sewer would have seen Lancaster bills jump 14.5 per cent (from $1,105 to $1,265 annually) and Glen Walter bills go up 25.4 per cent ($1,078 to $1,352 annually).

In a recorded vote, everyone on council except Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden voted to have staff review the current rate structure.

Warden said his decision made in June 2018 when he was a councillor was done with “full merit” based on a staff recommendation that the increases were needed to plan for future infrastructure.

Based on his math, the increase in Lancaster would amount to 1.1 cents per liter of water “delivered and taken away at the minimum charge. I don’t think it’s an exorbitant amount of money.”

Warden cited the fact a pump replacement alone in Glen Walter would be around $900,000 and the rainy day fund for the village “is zero.”

Customers already had a 34-37 per cent increase in their bills last year.

Coun. Sam McDonell says he plays “both sides of the fence” and knows it’s a user pay system and “relatively is very affordable” but people buying homes in the two villages were not bargaining on the double digit increases.

Mayor Frank Prevost agreed with the review saying it was a “major election issue.”

There’s no timeline for the review.