Interest fee

County should reconsider water connection fees

Editor, The Bulletin;
As a resident of a hamlet in Newell County, I appreciate having a well-functioning water supply system and know the importance of having a good source of clean drinking water.
Many households in the county are eagerly waiting to connect to the rural water system of Phase 2 of the Regional Water Project. At the $1,500 registration fee set by the previous council, most could afford to register. The $3,000 price increase is a lot of money to spend in these good economic times. Many people are out of work or have had their work schedules changed due to the pandemic, reducing their ability to afford this increased fee. now set by the current board.
As a Newell County ratepayer, I am interested in the operations of the municipality and often attend regular council meetings. I reviewed the meeting held on January 20 and the discussion held regarding phase 2 of the water project. I was appalled by Councilor Neil Johnson’s comment who said, and I quote, “People who didn’t sign up when it was $1,000 should pay a penalty for being stupid.”
In my opinion, this comment was very unprofessional, inappropriate and very critical. The reasons why those who did not register during the first phase of the project could be for a variety of things: to build a new farm after the first phase, to buy a property that did not have rural water connected or simply couldn’t afford it. .
It’s not for you to judge.
To Councilor Ellen Unruh, although you know women who can afford to spend $1500 on handbags and jackets, I ask you to recognize that this is not the norm and there will be people who will struggle to pay $1,500 for a necessity in life like water registration fees.
I hope the council at the time will reconsider their decision and reduce the registration fee to $1,500. The cost is not just in the registration fee, but in the construction costs to install the system in the house. Membership will be the success of phase 2 of this project, please allow all 732 owners to participate.

Peter Anderson,
Patricia, Alta.

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