Re: “Council debates merits of water meters,” November 16
I read the recent front page story by Megan Cole with some alarm. I was left with the dreadful feeling of why and for whom?
My first question is who does Econnics and Kirk Stinchcombe — the presenter to Nelson city council — represent and to what ends? Mayor Dooley is quite right in being skeptical and I give him full marks for being wary on this presentation.
If a municipal authority needs revenue for infrastructure works it can save up the costs from present revenue, increase taxes and either save, spend or borrow.
It doesn’t need the excuse of water meters and their expense to do this (initial estimate of $2.3 million to Nelson’s ratepayers), but simply needs to explain the necessity to the taxpayers. Nelson recently did this, borrowing $6 million while increasing electric rates for up grades to that system.
The ushering in of water meters is a slippery slope.
In this country industrial and commercial water use far exceeds many times over residential use. The payment rates for the various uses of water can be manipulated, as our present provincial and federal tax system is, to have residential rates subsidizing commercial usage. And this while still under public control.
The installation of water meters leaves public control of this resource just one step away from privatization, opening another area of even deeper concern. Who would want to pay the global price for water (the cost of water in the middle of the Sahara) in a country naturally endowed with plentiful water?
Another example of this is the price for fuels we pay at the pump and our oil resources being controlled privately by big oil.
I say no to water meters. If a council needs more revenue it should make its case without imposing another tax. And if a council finds it necessary to borrow, increasing the public’s debt, it should borrow locally.
Otherwise all that compound interest being charged and paid over the years by the local community, leaves the local community and goes into the pockets of bankers sitting atop their towers in Toronto.