Letter to the Editor – Water Rates

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Dear Editor,

I truly do appreciate the effort undertaken by you, the editor, and your staff to convey the local news and events to area residents, groups and businesses. However, I, and other Merrickville residents and business owners to whom I have spoken, were disappointed in reporter Hilary Thompson’s recent article “Water Rates to increase 5% in Village in 2021.”

If Ms. Thompson’s goal was simply to provide information and verbatim opinions expressed by municipal staff and council members preceding a Council meeting vote, she did a great job. But I suggest that if a reader was interested in basic information and opinions that extended beyond the Municipal offices, the article was lacking in research and perspective.

For example, the article was missing the most basic of basic facts – the actual water/sewage base rate in Merrickville.

The current base rate for a Merrickville residence is $287.78. That is, every two months, even if residents in a Merrickville home do not use ONE SINGLE drop of water, that is the MINIMUM water/sewage charge. Bills can be as high as $500 or more if you are a gardener or have a larger family. Those are facts, not my opinion.

Merrickville businesses pay a minimum rate more than double that. Even if businesses have reduced hours during winter, or have shut down – as has been the case with COVID – they still pay that minimum rate.

I, for one, was baffled as to why Ms. Thompson did not include this already high (pre-5% increase) rate in her article. And I was disappointed that, other than Council members and Municipal staff, she didn’t speak to anyone – Merrickville residents, the Chamber of Commerce, business owners – about this increase.

Such additions, I suspect, would have given readers a more balanced and informed perspective.

But, perhaps that is the purpose of letters to the editor.

Once again, thank you for your work in reporting local news and events.
Chris Balicki

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