Cornwall council passes 3.79% water, sewer increase for 2020

In this photo from the City of Cornwall water and sewer budget, the sewer pumphouse on Montreal Road has crumbling brickwork (inset) which has reached the end of its life. Coun. Eric Bergeron tried unsuccessfully to chop it from the budget in order to give savings to ratepayers. (City of Cornwall via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – The 2020 water and sewer budget has passed with no changes to it, meaning ratepayers will be shelling out an extra $25 to $35 next year.

City council met for two-and-a-half hours Monday afternoon to go through the capital and operating budgets for next year.

After the presentation, Coun. Eric Bergeron tried to chop $225,000 from the budget for an addition to the water plant on Second Street West. The city has already set aside $771,000 for the $1 million project. He couldn’t get a supporter for his motion.

The plant addition would address a number of “functional deficiencies” – namely change rooms and washrooms for both sexes, accessibility to the building on the ground floor and a space for training.

Bergeron also tried to carve out $80,000 to repair the crumbling pumphouse on Montreal Road. “Is that necessary this year? Is that an absolute must?” Bergeron questioned.

According to staff, every $90,000 in the budget equates to 0.5 per cent.

On a question from Coun. Dean Hollingsworth, staff explained that cutting the repairs to the pumphouse would only push it down the road, potentially leading to more expensive repair costs down the road. Many on council agreed.

Bergeron said he would trying to “find some cost savings.”

Alternatively, Coun. Justin Towndale suggested that the money should be taken from the reserve accounts which are already above their target amounts.

But CFO Tracey Bailey says the reserves are above target because there will be a big draw on them in the next couple of years for capital projects, instead of going to the bank.

Cutting the $80,000 in pumphouse brickwork was voted down.

The budget was passed moments later.