LETTER: Utility rate increases will hurt those on fixed incomes

Summerland’s water, sewer and electrical rates will all increase in 2020

Dear Editor:

I was interested to read about the major utility rate increases proposed for Summerland.

I noted the proposed yearly increases of five per cent to water rates, 3.5 per cent to sewer rates each year for five years and 4.4 per cent to electrical rates for 2020.

According to my math, that will mean I will be paying more than 18 per cent more for water and sewer by 2025 plus unknown increases to electrical rates.

These increases do not include any increases in our homeowners tax or any operating budget increases.

READ ALSO: Summerland utility rates to increase

READ ALSO: Increases recommended for Penticton utility rates

I understand that infrastructure has to be maintained but can the large number of Summerland residents who are pensioners, afford such significant increases.

Pensions will not increase at these levels resulting in a reduction in the standard of living for many residents. Mayor Toni Boot indicates that there are many utility capital projects scheduled for 2020 plus we know this council has aggressive plans for their four years.

Are there too many plans and projects perhaps?

We elect our leaders with the expectations that they will live within the means of residents and hold them to account at the ballot box.

Lately, there have been several instances of municipalities floating massive tax increases only to back off with public pressure. Kind of makes you wonder what is discussed at the UBCM meetings.

To add insult to injury, I received a notice from the District of Summerland on my Facebook feed Friday afternoon stating that there would be a meeting at 4 p.m. that day to pass the increases that we had just learned about the previous day.

I talked to several interested parties and nobody had heard about it and like myself, because of plans were unable to attend because of four hours notice.

The excuse was given that the rates go into effect in January so as this is the last meeting of the year, they would need to be passed, obviously without debate.

Deliberate? What do you think?

I am extremely disappointed in our mayor and council who campaigned on transparency and communication.I for one will be diligently following the cost increases for Summerland residents incurred by our present leadership.

Andy Richards

Summerland

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