The owner of a 41-unit estate in Warfield is satisfied with council’s decision to increase a core service $40 until 2019 – instead of the 440-per cent hike that was advanced late last year.
John Lattanzio, proprietor of the Warfield Apartments, says the proposed sewer rate, which would have been spread out over three years, would have put him out out business because the significant hike is much higher than the allowable rent increase
Instead of raising each unit’s sewer rate $115 annually to reach $413 in 2019, the new council opted for a $40 increase that will have tenants eventually paying $188.
“Of course, I don’t like to see any increase but this is way better than what the original proposal was,” Lattanzio told the Trail Times. “This is something I am comfortable with, I’ll still have to pass those increases to my tenants of course, but it’s still manageable.”
Rate hikes were at the forefront of the village’s February byelection, which brought a new mayor and two new members to the five-seat council.
Lattanzio presented his case to the former table last fall, and he gathered 100-plus signatures on a petition that cited the proposal as “unreasonable and discriminatory,” based on the assumption that the properties used more sewer than single family homes.
“I explained my position why each unit should not pay the same as a residential rate when I made my presentation back in October, and (again) when we had the forum, ” said Lattanzio, referring to the Feb. 9 community forum. “They understood my position that apartments don’t use the same amount of water, therefore there is not as much sewer, so they should not pay the same as residences,” he added.
“I think the new council and the new mayor had seen my perspective and respected where I was coming from, and they made the right decision.”
Mayor Diane Langman confirmed that council unanimously agreed to rescind the previous motion at the April 4 meeting.
“And made a new motion to increase the sewer rates $40 a year for the next three years, bringing the sewer rates per apartment to $188.21 per year at the end of 2019.”
The matter was a hot topic at the All Candidates Forum on Feb. 9, she emphasized.
“With that still fresh in our minds, along with comparative information from other municipalities within our region, council felt this was a more reasonable approach to this issue.”
Installing a meter and measuring actual flow, such as in the larger City of Trail apartment complexes, could be a resolution in the coming years.
“This is something that was brought up, not only by Mr. Lattanzio, but also by council,” said Langman. “It’s definitely something that staff could potentially be looking into in the near future.”
Another utility-related matter recently wiggled to the forefront after a bank gave way in Annable and caused damage to respective water lines. The repairs have been completed, but land instability surrounding Lower Montcalm Road has forced closure of the popular back route.
“Currently we have the road blocked off and are getting a feasibility study to return the road to either a driving road or a walking path,” said Langman. “Depending on what the cost estimates come back will determine how council will proceed. Either way, we will hold a public meeting to inform residents of the findings before we vote on anything.”
Council’s plate has been full since their swearing in one month ago (March 10) aside from dealing with core services. The group has been working on the 2017 budget, though capital plans such as infrastructure projects, are still taking shape.
Langman added, “We have not yet finalized our budget so I can’t say definitively what will be in there.”