Council Committee Votes Against Hearing Water Bill Appeals

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Joey Coleman/The Public Record

Hamilton City Hall forecourt

Hamilton City Council’s ad-hoc approach to high water bill appeals may be at an end.

Councillors on the Audit, Finance, and Administration Committee decided against hearing two resident appeals of water bills.

In Favour: Clark, Johnson, VanderBeek, Partridge
Opposed: Wilson, Collins, Pearson, Ferguson

Ward 10 Councillor Maria Pearson was first to express she would not support hearing the appeals.

“I’m concerned about getting these requests again”, Pearson said in regards to continuing appeals of staff water bill decisions to Council. “It is our policy, we charge for water and a little more for sanitary water going out”.

The two appeals are individuals who installed new sod on their properties, and used a larger than usual amount of water this summer as a result.

Hamilton’s water bills have two components, a charge for water used and a charge for wastewater treatment which is based upon that water usage.

During the past few years, Council has heard appeals from individuals who’ve had high water usage. Often, these are outdoor leaks and the individuals seek to have wastewater fees waived. By policy, staff are not allowed to waive these fees.

At Council, the vast majority of appeals have been decided. Council has, when requested by the ward councillor where the appellant lives, granted wastewater fee waivers for homeowners who live in their homes. They have declined to give relief to landlords, including in situations where a tenant left hoses or other outdoor water running.

The decision to decline appeal delegations needs to be ratified by the full City Council during their scheduled ratification meeting on September 30th.

During the past few years, Council has heard appeals from individuals who’ve had high water usage. Often, these are outdoor leaks and the individuals seek to have wastewater fees waived. By policy, staff are not allowed to waive these fees.

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First published: September 24, 2020
Last edited: September 24, 2020
Author: Joey Coleman

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