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LETTER: Another charge bites the dust...another burden for taxpayers?

Dear editor,

In addition to eliminating Development Cost Charges, City Council is proposing to eliminate the Sewer Cost Recovery Charge.

The Sewer Cost Recovery Charge is intended to accumulate funds to help pay for Rossland’s share of the capital costs needed to upgrade the Regional sewage system to meet Provincial regulations which currently require a minimum of secondary treatment. Its implementation was a good decision by Council in 2005.

According to the Liquid Waste Management Plan Stage 1 report, it would cost about $ 29 million to upgrade the system for the next 20-years. About $ 18 million of this is attributable to Rossland based on the 20-year population projection of 10,000 used in the 2007 report.

I understand that Rossland has now reduced its 20-year population forecast to 5,600 for the Stage 2 Liquid Waste Management study. This should reduce the capital cost considerably; nevertheless, Rosslands portion of the capital cost may still be about $ 6 million.

By eliminating the Sewer Cost Recovery Charge, the City will lose over $ 1 million that could be collected from the 2000 new residents that Rossland is forecasting in the next 20-years.

This project could start in the next 2-3 years unless the Rossland/Trail sewage service conflict causes further delays, which I doubt if the Provincial Government will tolerate.

With the elimination of the Sewer Cost Recovery Charge, the cost burden for the sewage system upgrading project will, no doubt, be passed on to Rossland taxpayers, with no charges to future residential development for its share.

The proposed Capacity Connection Charge is intended to replace Development Cost Charges for municipal infrastructure. What is going to replace the Sewer Cost Recovery charge? Rosslanders should ask their councillors to explain the rationale for eliminating this charge for future Regional sewer infrastructure upgrades. 

Ken Holmes