One of the most prominent issues this election, is this Council’s decision to impose a Local Improvement Program (LIP) to pay for cast iron water main replacement. Because of this decision, the community was forced to get a legal petition signed to force all of us to vote on this issue on October 26. As it should be. Congratulations to the members of the CAST group who worked so passionately and diligently to bring this to a head.
For quite some time and during all the preliminary meetings, the LIP was the preferred option with this Council and administration. I don’t understand it and I don’t know why. To impose on only some of the community, the payment of the City’s water lines is beyond me. What needs to be clear is that the lines to the sidewalk/street from your home is YOUR responsibility and will continue to be that way. What I believe is unfair, is the particular home owners that have cast iron water mains in front of their house, on the street, paying for what should be the community’s responsibility as a whole. I will continue to advocate that existing infrastructure like these water lines are the community’s responsibility as a whole.
I believe the conversation and discussion needs to be had to find the funds in existing revenues at the City before we impose new taxes on the community for this upgrade. There is already a dedicated tax increase in the capital budget for cast iron water main replacement. But during this last capital budget in 2016, there was over $3 million dollars spent on consultants. You see I believe, that there are some areas in the budget that can be cut and/or reduced. It’s expenditures like this that continue to take up valuable tax dollars in the budget. One example is the fact that this last council did another downtown plan. We probably have at least three of them taking up space on the shelf and we’ve done nothing with them. Plans are great but we tend to do nothing with the ones we pay for. These downtown plans are a good example of that.
So I believe we can find some of the funds in the budgets now but that we may have to have a dedicated tax increase to fund the rest of the project or even a dedicated levy. Some people have asked me about my position on this and I apologize that I have left it out. I hope this is helpful…