At the Committee of the Whole meeting September 10, Council recommended changes to the High Water Bill Adjustment Policy be forwarded to the Regular Council Meeting of September 24 for adoption.
At the July 16 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council heard a presentation from Jennifer Stover, Director of Corporate Services on the purpose of and related areas of concern within the High Bill Adjustment Policy. Those concerns have been incorporated into the new policy recommendations.
The original policy was adopted by Council in April 2017 and established the expectations of Council as it relates to high water bill inquiries. High Bill was defined as two times the normal consumption for the same period in the previous year. Property owners can appeal to the High Water Bill Adjustment and Mandatory Service Connection Appeals Committee which is governed by the By-Law 2018-039 A By-law to Regulate Water and Wastewater Services in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Recommended changes to the policy include the following:
- That relief be provided for obvious or hidden leaks, resulting in high consumption that occurs from circumstances beyond the control of the property owner. Instances such as leaking plumbing fixtures (such as taps, toilets, etc.), water softeners, water-powered sump pumps will no longer qualify as these matters should be part of regular maintenance by the property owner.
- Instances of unexplained sudden large increase in consumption will now be considered for adjustments, depending on circumstances, and in consultation with the Director of Public Works.
- The policy be expanded from only residential and not-for-profit properties to all property types with an adjustment cap of $1,500.
- Written notification must occur within 30 days of bill date.
- Maximum period adjusted will be one billing cycle (3 months).
- Remove minimum threshold of $50 for processing of an adjustment.
These proposed amendments will create transparency and efficiency in processing the high water bill adjustments.