The discounted water and sewer rate for Dawson seniors represents a significant saving within the context of a very expensive system for our delivery of residential potable water and subsequent waste carried away to the screening plant. Where it not for this long standing discount, seniors would face a yearly cost of approximately $1200 after the residency deduction from a base amount of $1700.
On January 26, 2011 Town Council will debate first reading of an amendment to the water and sewer bylaw which removes this discount for year round residents as well as taking away relief for seniors.
In the meantime all ratepayers must cough up the full un-discounted amount pending the bylaw review, in direct contradiction to active bylaws, as if only the formality of subsequent readings stood in the way of making the new regime a done deal.
What can you say about a municipal government that appears not respect our own bylaws? If you can simply cherry pick through the rules for the desired objective then why bother with bylaws in the first place, simply make adjustments as you go.
At least one town councillor has borrowed a page from the right wing manifesto of the American Tea Party with the position that discounted water and sewer rates constitute a subsidy and therefore should be removed forcing all citizens to bear the “true” cost of delivering this service to our citizens, seniors not withstanding.
He could stand the reminder that the entire Yukon exists in its current form only because of a massive yearly subsidy from Ottawa. Escaping the stigma of kneeling before the feeding trough might prove difficult for all of us.
Before his Palinesque diatribe against “subsidies” gets out of hand let’s look at some comparisons. Whitehorse homeowners pay approximately $400 -$500 per year for water and sewer, Mayo residents shell out $300 per year whereas Dawson residents pay $1,250 per year including the discount and $1700 as an absentee home owner. Do you see a lack of fairness here?
On advice given by Senior Financial Officer Joanne Van Nostrand that because the current provisional budget reflects a new – as of yet un-adopted – water and sewer bylaw (11-01) removing all grants and discounts, everyone must pay their bill as if no discounts exist in advance of this bylaw actually coming into effect.
This policy clearly contradicts the Municipal Act.