February 26, 2014

Water Department won’t have to pay rent

As published in The Erin Advocate

Mayor Lou Maieron has failed to get council support for his plan to have the Erin Water Department pay rent for use of the Town building on Shamrock Road.

The issue has been the subject of several council discussions and staff reports in the last year. Recently, council decided against simply donating the building to the Water Department, which is supported mainly by urban users of the water system and has a separate financial accounting system.

Maieron came back with a request for a staff report on what a reasonable rent would be for the building, taking all offsetting factors into account. Councillor John Brennan seconded the motion, but it was defeated in a recorded vote by Councillors Barb Tocher, Deb Callaghan and Josie Wintersinger.

The mayor said that it is common in other towns for a water department to pay rent or own their own facilities.

“We can’t expect people who are on septic tanks to subsidize people who are on Town water,” he said.

Councillor Tocher pointed out that the Town already owns the department, with council controlling all its finances, and that council was already considering giving use of part of the building to an outside party for free.

Water Superintendent Frank Smedley said that having a good water system in the villages is a benefit to the whole town.

“We didn’t pay rent before we amalgamated, so I don’t see why we should pay rent after,” he said.