Fees increasing for sewer repairs

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September 11, 2014 2:47 PM

City Coun. Ken Baker was the lone voice against the increase in sewer auger fees. The fees will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. - Christopher W. Brown Photo

Lloydminster city council approved an increase in sewer auger fees at Monday’s council meeting.

The increase was made due to the loss of over $10,000 last year alone in work on sewers in the Border City.

Currently, the city charges residents $90 per hour on regular hours and $110 after hours.

After Monday’s vote, residents will have to pay $170 per regular work hour and $340 for after hours.

City reports said that the city completed 176 sewer augers per year on average with the former fee system.

City Coun. Ken Baker was the only councillor to vote against the increase, stating that it was against the mantra of making the city more affordable for residents.

“We talk about making the city more affordable, people are capable of paying their bills in the city. But there are some people in this community that are not as fortunate as others in the city,” he said.

Baker said that in his experience in the past on Lloydminster city council, some of the older homes in the city are exposed to major tree growth.

“We all say that we want growth, but at the end of the day a lot of those trees get into the sewer lines,” he said.

“And a lot of those sewer lines are short clay tiles. Which makes it much easier for the tree roots to get into the sewers.”

Baker did admit that he knows that the city currently doesn’t have a system in place to determine if the city’s trees or homeowners’ trees are effecting the sewers.

He added that sometimes you can’t look at just the final dollar amount, but have to look at the people who the increase could effect.

“Grandma and grandpa, who want to stay in their house and don’t have an income, and don’t have a lot of resources,” Baker said.

“We have to look at it as if its sustainable or not for homeowners in the area to stay in their house or not.

“We have to ensure that we don’t make the burden of cost overwhelming for people in the community.”

Baker said that sewers are an essential service to all residents in the community.

“I think that the utility itself can pay for the service,” he said.

With an increase to the service not happening for over 12 years, Baker said that maybe the cost of the work was too high to begin with and the increase should not have happened.

The increase will come into effect in the new year, Jan. 1, 2015, and will be in effect for three years, ending Dec. 31, 2017.

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