Lancaster ON –It was a lovely night for a meeting, but sadly this meeting was not a joyous one in this small Ontario community near the Quebec border. A group of building owners were concerned about what they could
possibly do to challenge what seems to be a train in the night ramming through of a by-law that will raise water rates for multi-residential buildings by almost 300%!!
Owners of Multi-unit residential buildings in Lancaster, Dean and Brian
Township of South Glengarry by-law 32-11 is set to be read for the third time Monday September 12th; coincidentally about when Mayor Jim McDonell is scheduled to take a leave of absence to chase the MPP seat in the upcoming Ontario election on behalf of the Tim Hudak led Progressive Conservatives on the platform of lowering taxes.
The tenants and landlords however are finding nothing Progressive or Conservative about the whopping raise in water rates which already are some of the highest in the region. Nearby Cornwall Ontario for example has a much lower water rate and the cost hooking up new buildings to the water system is lower too. A few of the people in the group that build new developments also commented how areas like Ingleside and Long Sault are growing quickly while it’s becoming prohibitively expensive to build in South Glengarry under Mayor McDonell’s regime.
Sue talks about the impact of 32-11 on Seniors and her long term tenants.
What By-Law 32-11 is doing is multiplying water bills by the amount of units in a building. Most of the building owners at the meeting were upset that Mayor McDonell and his council seemed to have rammed this bill through first and second readings without leaving enough time for them to organize or make a presentation. That the sleepy community with a higher than average population of seniors on fixed imcomes simply won’t be able to absorb the extra fees in one shot and many voiced that this was connected to the new Flying J Truck stop being built in Lancaster that some estimated would consume 24% of the available water in the village.
Estimates from the group suggest that the secret tax grab would amount to between $100,000 to $150,000 per year for the Township which is odd coming from a Mayor who’s running on a lower tax platform?
The group is hoping that they can lobby to get a rescheduling of the 3rd reading scheduled Monday at the Council meeting so as to have a public forum and consult with lawyers if need be as this can affect nearly 500 people in the tiny region.
They want as many people as possible to contact the Township office, Mayor and Council to voice their objection to the by-law and at least delay it for 90 days so that they can properly fight it, or at least have any future tax hikes delivered in a more humane fashion.
The email address for the township is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can phone the office at 613 347 1166. They are located at 6 Oak Street in Lancaster Ontario.
Mayor McDonell: 613-347-1800 email@example.com
Deputy Mayor Ian McLeod 613-347-2144
Councilor Bill McKenzie
Councilor Joyce Gravelle
Councilor Trevor Bougie
CAO Derik Brandt
Director Water & Wastewater Sean Killoran
We emailed Mayor McDonell before print of this story, but as of yet have had a reply. We’re happy to print any statement he wishes to make unedited.
Ironic video of Mayor McDonell complaining about tax increases