Opinion: Regarding Water Meters

Was the decision to upgrade the city’s water meters good governance?

First some facts:

– Council received a 2011 CBT Smart Water Program Report (updated in 2016) and has not implemented a policy to promote water conservation.

– the current water meters work, can be read manually or electronically using a proximity device.

– with Water Meter Upgrades the meters can be read remotely from City Hall, real time water consumption data will be available.

– WMU will cost $421,000 plus $26,000 per year.

– WMU will not identify leaks in the water delivery system, inline zone meters are required, this requires separate funding.

– the Water Reserve Fund has a $1.2 million deficit, the $421,000 will be funded funded from 2018 general revenue, larger water reserve debt and r other reserves

– the $26,000 yearly fee will be billed directly to residents

– water bills will go up a minimum of $68 per year

– Council voted not to not approve WMU in June

– Mayor Moore used mayoral power to revisit the June decision, calling a mid week, mid-day special meeting in July and the June decision was overturned

– WMU is not required to implement a policy to promote water conservation, Council creates policy, technology creates data, the existing meters and sensors are creating the required data to support a water conservation policy

– $421,000 represents 8.5% of Rossland’s yearly municipal taxes

An observation, our water conservation policy is broken, implementing WMU is like spending $421,000 to upgrade the computer room on the Titanic but at least you will have real time data on the Bridge so you know how much water you are taking on.

Now Governance. Council uses different measures to arrive at decisions. They range from Return on Investment, Cost Recovery, Surveys, Referendums, the Asset Management Policy, Consultants and Special Meetings. It seems that projects that are favoured by Council Members are not required to meet the same standards and face the same scrutiny as projects not favoured. Easy money for WMU , the Miner’s Hall upgrades, no money for Seniors, Bear Proof Containers, Speed Control, Youth Groups and Recreational Facilities Upgrades. Securing money for a child TRP reimbursement was like performing root canal without anesthetic. Does not seem fair, it is not balanced Governance.

So, now you have some facts, read Andrew Zwicker for Councillor 2014 on Facebook for a more in-depth analysis. You can form your own opinion.

Michael Ramsey

Rossland

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