(Kim Siever photo/Wikimedia)

LETTER: Harrison utility fee change worrisome

Harrison resident Barbara Dramer shares her concerns about switching back to annual billing

(Re: “Harrison utilities move to annual billing,” AHO, Aug. 15, 2019)

Call me gob-smacked! That was my reaction to this article.

Until about four years ago, HHS residents were paying utility fees annually. These were included as part of our property taxes. The village office elected to change this system, and we began paying our utilities separately from our property taxes, on a quarterly basis. I was personally assured by village office staff that there was essentially no significant change in the amount we were paying.

A short time later, approximately one year, we saw a dramatic increase in our utility fees. This affected condominium owners significantly more than it did single-dwelling home owners. Condominiums, which were buildings with functioning water meters, paid for the amount of water consumption by owners through our strata fees. Individual condo owners also paid an additional user fee for maintenance and upgrades to the system directly to the village office, along with our sewer fees.

The village elected to stop using the water meters and chose to bill individual condo owners the same amount for water consumption as individual home owners paid. This was in spite of the fact that years of water meter records for our buildings demonstrated substantially lower rates of water consumption than the amount we would now be billed for. Our user fee continued unchanged.

The result was condo owners started paying more than double they amount they had previously. Detached home owners saw a slight decrease in their utility bill at this time.

When I receive my quarterly utility bill, it usually comes with a notice about changes to my garbage, recycling or green waste pick up. Unfortunately, condo owners in HHS are not eligible for these services, so this is truly a waste of paper, and adds insult to injury .

Could the village admin/financial staff not have predicted the cost of changing to a quarterly billing system, in terms of paperwork involved, when they made the change initially? With a recent increase in sewer fees, I question what is coming next.

Call me a small senior person in a small condominium paying what appears to be exorbitant utility fees.

-Barbara Dramer, Harrison Hot Springs


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salvation Army kettles return to Agassiz

The holiday fundraiser will be back in town for the month of December

Chilliwack Players Guild presents beloved classic ‘A Christmas Carol’

The Chilliwack Players Guild brings famous Dickens tale to life at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Hope Secondary teacher disciplined for inappropriate contact with student

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

UPDATE: Missing Edmonton man found

Justin Saris, 37, was on his way to Chilliwack from Edmonton

Snow fences to be tested once again in Agassiz

Last year’s pilot project didn’t see enough snow to test the fences’ effectiveness

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison honour Remembrance Day

The annual ceremony took place at AESS, followed by a moment of silence at the Agassiz cenotaph

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

UPDATE: Coquihalla now open north of Hope

Accident happened earlier this afternoon

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read