OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) This letter is regarding universal charges/taxes.
The Ramara Council Members met in Committee-of-the-Whole on Oct. 18 and considered closing two small water systems for the sake of reducing cost. They decided to kick the can down the road to next year as there are no funds in the current budget to investigate the matter.
However, the discussions did raise the question of universal charges/taxes for a service against fragmented collection of funds. It is basically a philosophical question.
A question the politicians have debated since taxes were invented. At times it is phrased as “user-fees” rather than taxes which does not change the substance of the issue. This 'special charge' question crops up in transit, education, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, water, etc.
In the particular Ramara context, the question arose if Ramara should have one universal water rate or different rates for the several physical separate systems. The cost of running different systems will vary with great variance in the cost differences from time to time. This is due to intermittent capital cost or breakdowns.
In the Oct. 18 meeting words like 'subsidizing one system' and 'unfair to people in low cost systems' were bantered around. However, the extra administrative cost of having different rates was not mentioned.
A municipality should maintain one universal rate for all of its water customers in this writer’s opinion. It promotes the concept that we are one municipality and discourages friction between groups of people. It furthermore, reduces the overall cost of providing water to the people.