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Wednesday
Mar142012

Wastewater Charges for Septics

One issue that I failed to pinpoint in my posts on the TYP concerns the intent signaled to "Introduce an equal charge to every rating unit in the District" for wastewater.

This is indeed a courageous leap by our neophyte councillors.

It happened in 2009, and I don't expect the reaction to be any different on this occasion. What is interesting is that no attempt has been made to rationalise, detail or otherwise explain what has changed since 2009 that has persuaded them this extension will be any more palatable to rural residents of the district than it was then.

In fact, there is a complete absence of quantitative information regarding the charge other than it will be extracted as part of the UAG (Uniform Annual General) charge. The forecast runs from $1.1m in 2012/2013 to $1.4m in 20121/22. This is a brand new rate from 2012/13, and although it will serve to reduce wastewater charges across those areas serviced by the ten plants, it will be incredibly unpopular in rural areas where it is imposed for the first time as a UAG.

Rural residents generally see it as a rating device designed to subsidize urban dwellers while they continue to have to meet substantial septic tank capital and maintenance charges. This can only be countered by arguments surrounding the use of the urban facilities while the country cousins  are in town, and the benefit obtained form having our waterways kept in pristine condition by the W/W plants. Oh dear, it may carry the weight of logic, but is not an argument that goes down well out in the bush. 

The previous Council in 2009 was thwarted by the loud and concerted objection of rural landowners who turned up in numbers to the hearings. The councillors caved in under this pressure, and reversed the decision. I wish the current crop good luck, but predict that the same will happen on this occasion - the numbers will build up as the knowledge of what is planned spreads through the community.

Endeavouring to get Thames rate-payers up in arms about the 'District' wide charging of all 'essential' services will be like trying to herd cats by comparison. Burying the proposal in two sentences on Page 197 of Volume 1 will not suffice to keep it free from prying eyes, so our councillors should prepare themselves for an onslaught on this one. 

 

 

 

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