More taxes! Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Rate Structure Review

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

This is very important for all rural residents. A Public Meeting will be held at Shenkman. Please read the Citizen article, submission of comments by residents and attached background information where the City of Ottawa is proposing:

  • "Property owners on private well and septic services will pay for stormwater management if council approves changes to how the city collects revenue for water and sewers, prompting councillors to brace for a backlash."
  • Moffatt, chair of council’s agriculture and rural affairs committee, said many residents who could be forced to pay a new stormwater fee on their tax bills will simply see it as a new city tax. The issue has been on Moffatt’s radar for a year and he has been preparing residents through his newsletter and website.
    • “I’ve been just trying to educate on the background,” Moffatt said. “What it comes down to is, what is the cost? What does it mean for residents?”

RURAL RESIDENT CONCERNS. Please feel free to add your comments to the list by emailing

  •  Deep concern regarding the calculation and implementation of a “fair” tax.
  • The ref document indicates that of the $316M for water services, storm water costs are is $42M and of that 19% or $8M is  for rural areas.
    1. Are these figures annualized over some period or does this represent this year only?
    2. Does the 19% represent an actual cost or projected?
    3. Have there been any figures developed for annual increase based on historical data.
    4. Based upon the number of taxable households/businesses what is the $ value per household?
  • What is the historical percentage of costs associated with rural water management VS suburban?
  • Where are the rural problem areas requiring new work? (In my 8 years living and travelling around our area I have never encountered any flooding or other issues;
    1.  No activity in my area in past 8 years. Only work was on Dunning where they dug out a couple of ditches, deepening them and adding gravel to the bottom. This served only to create an entrapment area worse than what they started with as the ditches are now deeper than the culverts. Additionally they have totally overgrown further negating water flow.)
  • Under what budget envelope was this covered in the past? If the responsibility is being transferred from some other department such as Roads, there needs to be an associated funding transfer;
  • The proposed changes to the rate structure suggested that the tax could be an “assessment based fee” meaning ties to property value:
    1. Please explain the correlation between property value and storm water. (there isn’t any so what does the city keep pushing it)
  • Impervious Surface Fee” This scheme attempts to simplify the fee based upon an actual value using the City Glossary definition of Storm Water and may be in line with a proper solution.
  • Definition from Ottawa glossary:  Impervious surface: surface of land where water cannot infiltrate back into the ground (e.g. roofs, driveways, streets and parking lots)

  • If storm water is a problem with “impervious” surfaces then rural residents should be exempt or at the very least have the fee prorated on the percentage of impermeable surfaces on the property.
  • It can be easily seen that a 2000 Sq. Ft house sitting on a 1 acre lot has much less run off than the same house in town. The reduced ratio of “impervious surface” to permeable is significantly changed and by the cities own definition must be recognized.
  • What percentage of the present water charges are actually used directly by the “water” department. Too often we see a tax or fee applied but the funding disappears into the general coffers never to be see again. If this tax is passed it must be guaranteed to taxpayers that 100% is applied to the appropriate budget;
  • There needs to be a fundamental change in budget planning strategy severing the ridiculous concept that everything associated with water delivery and waste should be covered by user fees. Many of the issues facing the city are infrastructure, maintenance and improvement. Provision of water is an essential service and must be delivered at a realistic cost to the taxpayer.  Monthly usage fees are certainly a contributor to the overall budget but can never account for all costs associated with maintaining the system. It can be clearly seen that the constant spiral of increasing costs resulting in reduced consumer usage only results in reduced revenues and cannot be addressed by further costs increase cycles;
  • Under this proposed new tax, what are the rural residents going to get?  Specifically, what improvements will directly affect us or is this simply another method of having rural taxpayers fund urban improvements?
  • Is there a “PLAN” for rural improvements?
  • Is there anything scheduled or is this a 'fund' for only as required?
  • If the argument that “we are all City taxpayers and must share the costs of running the city” arises, I must question why then do I pay more for Hydro, telephone and gas?