Former Councillor Proposes New Revenue Stream
By Kirk Winter
Andy Luff, a former City councillor, made a deputation on January 23 to CKL Council about a solution to high water bills.
Luff suggested that there are at least 850 basement apartment/in-law suites located in Lindsay. A 2015 by-law required that landlords register those apartments, but on average fewer than 10 a year have been registered since the by-law was passed.
With so few “accessory units” formally registered, the City is losing out on charging an additional $450-a-year fee for water and sewage for those basement apartments or in-law suites.
Luff calculated that since 2015, the City has lost out on approximately $1.14 million in water and sewage fees that these erstwhile landlords should have paid.
As Luff said, if people don’t register, or feel that there is a need to register, the City will continue to lose out on that very significant revenue stream.
Discussion was had on this proposal, and it quickly became evident that the 2015 by-law was ineffective because the City had no human resources attached to it to ensure that people actually registered.
Councillor Dunn believes that Luff’s idea needs to be supported by Council and implemented sooner than later. Dunn found it ironic that we were charging people in rural areas for water and sewer that they had not hooked up to, and not charging multiple Lindsay residents who were “double dipping” on water and sewage.
Deputy Mayor Elmslie shared that this is largely a Lindsay problem, because it has been illegal to have a below-grade apartment anywhere else in the City. Elmslie said this is another example of where by-laws need to be consistent right across the City, and he looks forward to the day that below-grade apartments will be legal everywhere in CKL.
Council also agreed that likely Luff’s estimate of “accessory units” was on the low side, and that Staff should report on this issue so that Council can decide what direction to go.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Luff for his deputation.