Landing sewer letter raises questions

Resident challenges process to bring the sewer line into the Claremont subdivision

Having received the City of Vernon’s letter May 27, I have several questions as well as observations. The original letter of Sept. 24, 2014 was to find out if there was any support for a sewer line to be brought into the  Claremont subdivision at this time, and obviously interest was shown on a projection of this extension of sewer.

We have always had an interest in this idea and as a 45-year owner of my Claremont property, I recall that bringing in sewer to the Landing was a major campaign promise of the voting to bring the Landing into the city, so we have always had an interest in seeing this promise fulfilled.

Back then, nothing was ever said about the cost to the homeowners and we thought this would just be an advantage for us to become a city property owner. One thing about being in the city is that our property taxes went up considerably after the period of grace was finished. Now we are being faced with an additional fee on our taxes for the next 20 years of $1,000 per year for our hooking up to city water, after our original water system is no longer able to be maintained by the aging original developer.

We really have no choice in hooking up to city water because water is so essential. However, we do have a choice in accepting city sewer as we have existing septic systems and although these have to be both replaced in part and maintained, it’s far less than what I am reading in your recent letter.

From what I read, the basic cost to each property will be an initial $16,316 and if paid over 15 years, it will increase our property taxes to an additional $1,510 per year. Doing my own home tax math where I already pay $1,549 per year and that number includes additional grants of senior and homeowner, that would bring my next year’s total tax to $4,059 providing the basic city tax is not increased.

This increase of about $2,500 in one year is definitely out of my financial reasonable assessment for a widowed senior living on old age pension. In addition to this huge fee for servicing our area, you are expecting us to pay operation costs through user fee, connection charges to the city and the work required on our own property to connect (estimated at $5,000 to $10,000 per home). If the lot is on the lower side of the road, this may include the necessity to buy a pump to pump sewage up to the main line. Also, a plumber fee will be needed for oversight.

As I read in the petition part of this letter, anyone signing this document is giving consent to go ahead and therefore accepting all charges and stipulations. Unlike the first letter of last Sept. 24, there are no yes or no voting boxes, just a place to sign for the then inevitable go-ahead to this whole expensive project.

This means that in addition to owing $20,000 for the next 20 years, we will also owe $16,316 on our properties — a grand total of $36,316 in one year against our property. Who is going to be interested in buying one of our homes with an additional price tag of that amount? They will go elsewhere.

Because of this extreme borrowing by the city for this project and passing all costs on to us, and the city doing nothing to contribute to this expense, I am 100 per cent not in favour of moving ahead with this sewer install into our area, and I will certainly not be signing any paper for my approval.

Donna Erdman

Vernon