Editorial: Council’s slippery slope

It is difficult to see the recent move by South Dundas council to harmonize sewer rates between Iroquois and Morrisburg as anything but posturing for the 2018 municipal election.

There has always been a perceived rivalry between the villages in South Dundas. Councils of the day have typically dealt with this in one of two ways: treat each area of the municipality as equally as possible; or, make decisions regardless of the perception of favouritism. The former ensures everyone receives their fair share, the latter is divisive, setting one area against another and strengthening the divide.

Council’s move to unify the sewer system billing is a perversion of fairness. Suggesting that Morrisburg ratepayers should pay more to subsidize Iroquois ratepayers is unfair.

The two villages share a water treatment plant, so all users of the system pay together. It is one system. The waste water treatment systems are different because they are not shared. Each village has its own, as does Williamsburg. Council of the day chose to have separate systems. Asking users from one village system to subsidize another disconnected system makes no sense. If passed it sets a dangerous precedent.

Should council decide that Morrisburg users should pay more to subsidize Iroquois, how long will it be before this council decides that Williamsburg users should pay too? Septic system users? Just because they are not on village septic does not mean they shouldn’t pay, if the precedent is set that disconnected users pay for everyone.

Consideration for this move points to a larger problem at the council table, the failure to grow South Dundas. The best way to lower rates for community services is to add more users, be it residential, commercial, or industrial. Instead, council opted to spend the first two years of its mandate changing staff and undoing decisions from councils past. Meanwhile neighbouring municipalities have attracted growth. Now in year three, some councillors appear to be focussed on planning for re-election. What better way than cutting sewer bills for some, even if it means robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Electioneering under the premise of “we are all South Dundas” while making divisive decisions is inexcusable. One would think with the years of experience at the council table, that lesson should have already been learned. If not, voters can educate them on October 22nd, 2018.

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