Why is my water bill so high?
Why can't the Township lower my bill?
These are just a few of the many questions that I get when the water bill is mailed out every three months. Residents look at the bill and see a 10 percent year over year increase and they are frustrated, money is tight for everyone! Why on earth are we getting huge bills for our water?
I am here to agree with residents who have called and emailed me to express their disbelief with the cost of water. But I would like to take the time to explain what changed Provincially a couple years back that made water bills so expensive and what municipalities did not do to stop it.
Historically, water bills were subsidized by the property tax bills, how so you may ask? Because the water bill was solely the cost of purifying the water and pumping it to your home. The property taxes would cover the fixed infrastructure costs such as the actually pipes in the ground, pump houses, and waste management facilities.
Due to changes from the past Liberal Government, all Municipalities must charge residents for the water and infrastructure costs. So now we are paying for every single fixed and variable cost which includes all the underground infrastructure, the waste treatment facilities, and all other cost that were hidden from water bills before are now being included, hence all the charges.
This additional cost was spread over the past couple years, this year will be the last year of double digit increases, we will hopefully stabilizes to just inflation costs going forward. I must also include that York Region buys lake water from City of Toronto and Region of Peel. This means that operating costs are out of our hands. It is up to the York Region to get King Township a better deal, the King Council truly is powerless on this issue.
The worst part of this entire problem is that when residents get their water bill at the top heading it reads "Township of King," this is truly misleading. I hope this helps to clarify some misconceptions that I have heard while speaking to residents. The change has to come at the Provincial level because with this new system of full cost recovery it will not allow King Township to lower water bills.
Lastly, my little two cents on this issue which no one wants to talk about. Municipalities love to get more funding from the Province and will absolutely object when their budget is cut. No one talks about where all the money went from the shift in cost from property taxes to your water bill. Seriously, if all the funding is coming through water rates and charges, where did most municipalities spend that freed up revenue?
This is why I continue to question every single expense at King Township, there continues to be waste and we need to fundamentally change our system. We need to clearly show the rate-payers of King where their hard earned dollars are going.