Councillor pushes for sewer fee change

Gyula Kiss makes his annual efforts to bring truer user pay sewer fees on board in Coldstream

A Coldstream politician’s annual effort to establish a fairer sewer fee system has tapped into some support. But not enough to bring it on board.

Every year, Coun. Gyula Kiss tries to persuade his council colleagues to adopt a truer user pay system for sewer charges.

Under the current system he says, “it’s the low users that are actually subsidizing the high users.”

Kiss says the current flat fee of $94 is too high and he suggests it be reduced to $75 and increase the per cubic metre rate.

“Our intention is that people actually start cutting back on their water usage,” said Kiss. “If we use this system people might actually start cutting back on their usage.”

Coun. Richard Enns doesn’t support the idea.

“The proposal to move to a pure user-pay system is going to punish families,” said Enns.

But Kiss disagrees.

“It would be fairer and it would still be a subsidy to the higher users but not as heavy.”

Coun. Maria Besso likes the idea of a fairer system but also cautions it.

“What’s difficult with that is it’s a hard sell to the public,” said Besso.

Coun. Pat Cochrane suggested a truer user-pay system be phased in over a two-to-three year period.

“I think the user-pay is worthwhile for virtually everything and maybe it just needs to be an incremental process.”

Kiss’ user-pay suggestion did not gain enough support from council to pass, but he is not giving up.

“I’m going to present this again for the next year and I’m going to lobby the public to support it.”