Looking back…

I wrote this column back in January 2014. I was sick of hearing a succession of councils weaselling out of the Town of Hudson’s 2006 promise to west end residents the water bylaw included a line to the west end.

The photo is of part of the map drawn up by LBCD which was presented at two public loan-bylaw meetings in November 2006. The map formed part of LBCD’s funding proposal to the federal and provincial governments. The administration of that period claims the west end aqueduct was removed from LBCD’s proposal because it would have driven up the cost of the project. Who made the decision? LBCD? Quebec? The administration?

Before this and future administrations spend a dime on wish-list projects, they have to attend to this. It’s an open wound, a reminder of promises made for the sake of political expediency and an insurmountable obstacle to equitable taxation. A competent administration would have dealt with this in their first budget.

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What promises were made during those loan bylaw consultations in return for citizen support? These are from the Nov. 29, 2006 Hudson Gazette:   pg-01   pg-04  pg-14  pg-44

On Dec. 6, 2006, Mayor Elizabeth Corker first brought up the possibility of metered water for businesses.

Hudson mulling water meters
By Elyse Amend

HUDSON — Businesses on Main Road may be seeing water meters installed to determine how much they should be paying for sewerage.
Originally the Town of Hudson had proposed to tax buildings and businesses their share of the new sewer system on the basis of how much water they consume, but widespread dissatisfaction forced the town to rethink the formula.
The original taxation structure would have seen businesses taxed according to their daily estimated water use in litres. While most offices and stores, would end up paying on the basis of one residential unit, or 675 litres per day, restaurants would be taxed on the basis of 135 litres per seat per day, reflecting how much water is used for food preparation, cooking and cleanup. Beauty salons would be assessed on 650 litres per day per cutting chair, while bars would pay taxes on eight litres per day per client. Doctors and dentists would be taxed on 275 litres per day per professional, while cleaners would be assessed on 2000 litres a day.
Many businesses complained that the formula doesn’t represent the amount of water they really use, so the Town of Hudson is proposing to instal water meters in the business district, said Mayor Elizabeth Corker.
“It looks like the most logical thing to do. Certainly for some businesses that have installed more efficient equipment, they’re likely to use less water,” Corker said. “The idea’s not to undercharge and the idea’s not to overcharge. We’re trying to make it fair for everybody.”
Complexes that house several businesses, such as Shaars, Lancaster Place, and Poiriers, will have one meter installed for all the units. Property owners will be taxed for the entire complex, and will be responsible for passing on the charges to their tenants.
Meter readings would be done over the course of a year to establish actual consumption.
“Probably what we’re leaning towards right now is, we’ll have at least a year to figure out what their consumption is, rather than basing it on hypothesis,” Corker said.
If the loan bylaw is approved, sewer installation could start as soon as this spring, but may be pushed to the fall if there are delays. The Town proposes to ensure that major traffic disruptions won’t take place during the peak summer months, the mayor added.

On Dec. 13, the Gazette ran this story on how costs would be split. This is the first mention that west-end residents would be getting and paying for town water:

Water-system improvements by the numbers:
Total cost: $6.4M
Minus: federal/provincial infrastructure grants: $1.6M
Cost to ratepayers: $4.8 million ($2.4M over 25 years plus $2.4M over 40 years
Annual cost per address: $145 ($122 for loan bylaw, $23 for operation)
Note: Everyone drawing Town water will pay the $240 water tax as a separate line item on their tax bills. West-end residents may choose to continue drawing water from a private well, but will pay $122 because nearby fire hydrants will reduce their insurance costs.

Sewer project by the numbers:
Total cost: $14.8M
Minus: federal/provincial infrastructure grants, excise tax rebate: ($9.1M + $825,000)
Cost to ratepayers: $5.7M ($1.8M over 25 years plus $3.9M over 40 years
Cost split: 70% paid by 30% of all addresses, the remaining 30% paid by the unserviced 70%.
Proposed annual cost per residence: 789 serviced addresses would pay approximately $474 per year ($335 + $139 in operating costs), while 1995 unserviced addresses would pay $60 per year.
Proposed annual cost per business: To be determined on the basis of ongoing negotiations.
Note: The Town proposes to tax the 144 businesses in 122 serviced buildings on the basis of how much water they consume, and therefore how much they discharge into the sewer system. Water consumption was to have been calculated on a per-unit basis derived from provincial guidelines. Those guidelines define a residential unit as 675 litres of water per day — 270 litres of water per person per day, multiplied by 2.5 persons per address.
Guidelines:
• Restaurant water consumption would have been rated on the basis of 135 litres per seat per day, a reflection of the amount of water used for dishwashing, food preparation and equipment cleaning. The number of terrace seats would be divided by two. An 80-seat restaurant serving three meals a day, seven days a week would pay more than a 90-seat establishment open five days a week for breakfast and lunch.
• Daycares: 75 litres/person/day
• Professional offices: 50 litres/employee/day
• Retailers: 50 litres/ employee/day
• Bars: number of clients multiplied by eight litres of water/day.
• Dry cleaners: 2,000 litres per day.
• Medical and dental offices: 275 litres/day per professional, 75 litres/day for office personnel and 25 litres/day per patient.
• Hairdressers: 650 litres per cutting chair per day.
• B&Bs: 180 litres/guest/day.

I have yet to find a story reporting on the loan bylaw’s approval or how many, if any, residents signed a register which would have forced either or both bylaws to a referendum.

I recall a story in 2007 quoting Corker as saying the west end water line was off the table, but I can’t find it. Next step is to go through all the bound copies and page PDFs for 2007 and 2008.

This March 12, 2014 update marks the entry of the Prévost administration in the file.

PHOTO: Hudson’s sewage treatment plant was a $5.5 million piece of a $23.3 million puzzle. If unserviced sectors are exempt and Hudson’s three schools can’t be forced to pay, who is left to foot the bill? (Gazette, Jim Duff)

HUDSON
Town grapples with long-term debt scenarios
By Jim Duff
What percentage of Hudson’s $32.5 million in long-term debt represents the cost of the sewage treatment system? The waterworks upgrade? How much represents a dozen other loan bylaws approved over a dozen or more years?
What happens if Quebec upholds a citizen’s complaint at having to pay for a service they’ll never get?
It’s challenge facing mayor Ed Prévost and the administration as the town braces for two municipal affairs ministry (MAMROT) decisions.
The first is on the legality of $23.3 million in waterworks and sewer loans authorized under three borrowing bylaws already approved by MAMROT. Last week, town manager Catherine Haulard urged citizens to complain to MAMROT on the basis taxpayers can’t be forced to pay for services they can never hope to receive.
If MAMROT acts on those complaints, the town could be required to rewrite and re-adopt one or more of the original loan bylaws.
The second is whether Quebec will honour its commitment to service more than $6.5 million of Hudson’s long-term debt.
Late last year, MAMROT informed the town it won’t begin paying the interest and carrying charges on its $6,572,428 share of the deal until the audit of every contract is completed. Prévost said the town has heard nothing more.
Earlier this week, Prévost cited figures showing Hudson requested a total of $15,085,331 to install sewers, build a treatment plant and upgrade the town’s waterworks under the federal-provincial infrastructures program. Of that, $13,074,428 was entered in the town’s books as receivable.
So far, $6,502,000 has been received from the federal government in a lump sum.
If and when MAMROT agrees to pay what it committed to, Hudson taxpayers are on the hook for $10,225,572 over 25 years.
But if MAMROT refuses outright or delays the decision on the basis of the audit, add the annual cost of servicing an additional $6,572,428.
The 2014 budget earmarked $896,742 to finance the town’s total long term debt and $905,056 for repayment of principal.
The mayor assured residents they would be getting adjustments to their tax bills in coming days and said that if MAMROT forces the town to rewrite the original loan bylaws, council has the option of extending the term to 40 years.
Former mayor Elizabeth Corker says MAMROT signed off on every one of the water and sewer loan bylaws at the time. “Never once in 16 years did we have a loan bylaw returned,” Corker added Monday.
“Why are they opening this Pandora’s Box? We spent two years negotiating with MAMROT, traipsing down there every week with the engineers.”

 

 

 

 

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34 thoughts on “Looking back…

  1. 2 comments Jim. Under “Water System” – last line. “West end residents may choose to continue drawing water from a private well but will pay $122 because nearly fire hydrants will reduce their insurance costs”. Who wrote this? WHAT FIRE HYDRANTS, Closest one is across Main bottom of MacCauley Hill. Consequently oiur insurance premium for our house are pretty steep. I keep asking why the town has not notified nearby residents that there is an emergency underground tank on the “hacienda” property which the town got a servitude for. What is it for exactly? Certainly not just for the hacienda because town did it at taxpayers expense.
    As far as you can’t find who made the decision not to put in the water line to the WEst End, the only thing I found was in minutes of a council meeting where under “Public Works” report (you do remember when directors actually reported and wasn’t it nice?) In these minutes Trail says, because it’s gonna cost too much we’re not doing it. That’s it, that’s all. I can’t remember which year but it is in the minutes of a council meeting, maybe month of Feb. if memory serves me right.

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    1. Diane, that was the answer Corker and Trail gave me at a council meeting after my neighbour and I found out from a potential customer for his vacant lot that the town had no intention of installing a water line in our end. I think the answer to my challenge as to why (seeing as how the bylaw was passed on the premise of water for our part of Hudson) was that it was only a line on a map at the public consultation and a million dollars was nowhere near enough. My next question was that if the work was not going to be done, where is that one million dollars that was budgeted for the west end line in question? I was told not to worry as it was never used. But I still wonder where it went.

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      1. It’s a fair question. I suspect the climate of larceny and collusion in those days encouraged others to stick their snouts in the trough. It’s easy to say Louise Villandre plundered at will. I think it was a lot more complicated than one woman singlehandedly screwing her employer. She saw others doing it and decided that she might as well grab while the grabbing was good.

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      2. The likeliest answer is that the extra million was swallowed up by cost overruns and les ‘extras’ that the various contractors demanded and got. We chased a bunch of rumoured overruns and extras back then and were told we were wasting our time. I never believed that.

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  2. Well for one thing the line was brought up to Allstonvalle/Hudson Valleys in case they ever ran out of water. I heard Liz Corker say that first hand. Was this part of the original job estimate or was some of the $ that was supposed to be spent for west end line spent here? I never read the contract from the engineering firm. I did read the report from the engineering firm though regarding the sewer line. Seems to be they recommended going through Main st. to Bellevue but somehow the line went through properties owned by the Henshaws, Ellerbeck, Elliotts and a numbered company. I think a few things got changed midway. Am I wrong there? Did I misread that document? It’s around somewhere in the town’s archive.

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    1. The original proposal would have sewered the Como waterfront west of Bellevue but it was a lot cheaper to run it along the Bell servitude south of the tracks. Wherever they blew your million, it wasn’t connecting the east end.
      Funny thing is the tender docs were prepared by LBCD, the same company that prepared the grant request and was the prime contractor on the Brick Shithouse. Not saying there was any wrongdoing but it lacks transparency, as lawyers would put it.

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  3. Jim, in regards to your : ” It’s a fair question.I suspect the climate of larceny and collusion that existed……………………..” That maybe the type of sweeping innuendo that would give those good candidates you claim to be seeking some pause in taking on the thankless task presented next November. As to the $1 million portion of 504 to build the west end line is everybody here sure it was ever borrowed or perhaps was it possibly the X amount of the loan bylaw minus the $1 million = the actual amount the Town ended up borrowing. Maybe iIm just hoping for some kind of high road in this fiasco.

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    1. Brian, I was referring to the province, not just the town. Similar questions were asked in St. Lazare, Rigaud, Vaudreuil-Dorion, and Pincourt. These same issues will be tossed around in a bunch of this fall’s municipal elections. What we don’t need is another admin kitchen-sinking its predecessors with everything wrong. You’re telling us to own the past and move forward. As much as we agree on anything, I agree.

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      1. Like to step in here on the basis of rebuilding Hudson into a confident and kind and trusting community out of one that has and continues to be shaken by tragedy after tragedy….

        Like the the concept of ‘…….. own the past and move forward’ . Like it because it’s a doable action that makes a strong cornerstone in restoring the foundation of any heritage restoration pursuit, be it ta angible or intangible project.

        Otherwise, is too time consuming, nothing gets done.

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      1. Here’s my question to west enders, Daren: if you get Town water and fire hydrants for what everyone else pays for water – at one metered residential rate throughout town -does it matter?
        I have no issue with businesses being metered and charged on that basis but knowing Hudson Valleys and Alstonvale are consuming three times as much as the centre of Hudson has convinced me everyone has to be metered and charged on consumption. It’s the only fair way to do this.
        Those who don’t pay don’t care.

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  4. Dissecting and rationalizing past debt structures into current debt structures won’t be easy and won’t change the amount of the debt.

    It would seem that the resistance to completing the wrap up of projects funding, which involve switching short term project financing to delivered grants and long term loans was purposeful because it was part of the fiscal examinations that brought criminal charges.

    The signs had been obvious for years, but overlooked. Annual statements were behind schedule. Annual budgets were virtually straight lined increases with little randomness implying lack of real fiscal involvement. Surpluses existed on paper to calm the waters, but we weren’t borrowing to fix infrastructure. There was insufficient fiscal oversight to trip up a determined wrong doer. The Hudson Gazette, Jim Duff, and my own columns questioned these appearances over several years but facts were hard to come by as we were stonewalled. The community reaction at that time was often to treat us with anger like pariahs for daring to complain about or question our “Perfect Little Town”.

    All that to say that the Town of Hudson was well and truly set-up for a beating by the engineering and construction cartels of Quebec and the political system that enjoyed contributions from those entities. Cost over-runs were a method of increasing revenue mid project without the scrutiny of lowest bidders. Competent town engineers across Quebec had been pushed aside because they got in the way of the back scene.

    Because of the hard work and diligence through tough challenges of Councils from Piacente and Prevost councils and onward, the picture is finally becoming more clear.

    I believe that we must start thinking under my proposed new Town Motto : Just Fix it.

    It’s all about priorities and responsibility before grand dreams and future plans. The future plans will only evolve if we can just fix it.

    Done right, the next mayor needs to be perfectly bilingual, an out of the box thinker, tough, tight fisted and pragmatic as well as a transparent clear communicator who can engage the silent majority in a future vision and someone doesn’t require friends around them to do the right thing in hard decisions.

    Failing that Guy Pilon will eventually be lined up as our mayor and we’ll have only one Councillor to elect on Vaudreuil Dorion Council. My drivers license already reads Hudson Vaudreuil, check yours.

    Right the wrong of West End water, repair or re-mediate Pine Lake to better purpose , proper safety and acceptable visuals and ensure daily and emergency water supply for all for Hudson at a single residential rate, rejuvenate the village center so seniors can walk our sidewalks without risk.

    And we need to annually repave 4-6% (16-25 year complete replacement) of our streets from annual cash-flow of taxes by reducing our overheads, bureaucracy and discretionary spending to the bone. Development to the minimum level required to keep our tax burden just below onerous. It’s called austerity, we’re not as rich as we once appeared.

    The problem is that as we start, we’re going to have to pay for this ourselves because apparently we’re not eligible for grants until we act responsibly and fix a bunch of stuff we’ve been ignoring. I’m glad the governments of Quebec and Canada hold those standards, sorry we can’t meet them yet. So we’re on our own and have to spend our own money to solve our problems.

    We were about to borrow $1.5 million to pave 20% (I believe) of our roads. That implies that our current annual legal bill would repave about 7% or our roads. Sure we need some legal costs, but equal to repaving 7% of our roads in one year? We’re like Prometheus chained to a rock for eternity and the legal eagles return daily to peck our liver and leave us alive but not living.

    Priorities. And the priority has to be “Just Fix It”.

    The logical extension if we continue doing what we’re doing is “Didn’t Fix It, Lost It”.

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  5. I would just add the word “rassembleur” to the qualities needed for our next mayor. Someone that will really lead, inspire, someone that the staff will want to go the extra mile because they are proud of their job.

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  6. History shows us that Hudson, Hudson Heights and Como have always squabbled over cost sharing formulas. History has also shown that our three founding communities moved forward only when they agreed it was in the common interest. If Just Fix It is to become our shared mission statement it has to include a universally acceptable cost sharing agreement going forward. Taxes are high for a municipality with an inadequate and deteriorating infrastructure and no means of widening the tax base other than adding doors. Austerity is a fiscal policy, not just a handy buzzword. It means cutting what few services Hudson offers and slashing entitlements to Hudson’s many non-profits. It will take a remarkable salesperson to make it happen. What is needed now is a recruiting drive to find that person and convince them to devote four years to the task. Find the right candidates and everything else becomes possible.

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    1. Have no heart for public office if that’s where you’re going. The thing I fear most is another disconnected uninformed thin-skinned non council attending bunch who say hey that looks like something I could do and run against each other. I want to see commitment, debating skills and a determination to make their town better. We don’t need candidates whose prime motivator is defending their turf. I like the old fashioned concept of public service. For that reason alone, anyone who isn’t a council regular shouldn’t bother filling out the nomination papers. We need people who grasp the process and don’t require a four year learning curve. Discuss, argue, meet, fight and out of that come up with names. Then try to convince them to run.
      Here’s the one commonality I’ve noted in 50 years of covering politics: those who want the job generally disappoint. Those who don’t, less so.

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      1. Problem is, I do know lots of residents would do a great job, as I’m sure you do too; unfortunately many go away for the winter, after all you get to be in your 60’s and 70’s and you know the clock keeps ticking for the time left you have to check things off your bucket list . Just suffer a serious health issue to bring home what’s important in your life and how you want to spend the rest of it. Also, the job may be flexible and technology helps but if you are away 3 -4 months of the year, I really think one would be shortchanging the citizens. The mayor has to be present not only in Hudson but he/she has to represent us at all those MRC and regional meetings where decisions are made that can affect our town. or at least most of them, he/she is the face of Hudson. I am prepared to get behind the right candidate and let’s hope a few step up. The citizens are really at the mercy of whatever names are thrown in the hat. If no great candidates show up then it’s let’s choose the best one for the job even if she/he isn’t the greatest.

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      2. You’ll recall the last municipal election. Our current mayor emphasized in his campaign his opponent’s conflict of interest as a contractor and supplier to the town. Although the opponent tried to defuse the issue with a vow to divest himself, the damage was done. Anybody associated with his campaign was tarred with the same brush and Hudson lost what I think was an opportunity to elect a better-prepared and more fully grounded council. You make it sound like the electoral process is fair, balanced and transparent and Hudson voters inevitably make the right choices. History tells us they don’t. So instead of muddling through, I’d like to see a leadup to this fall’s elections which includes a series of public meetings and discussions. We might just meet some hidden gems and become better informed voters. I hate the idea of holding my nose and voting for the lesser evil.

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  7. I clearly remember the council meeting where we adopted the loan bylaws for the improvements to the water distribution system & new water filtration plant as well as the loan bylaws for the municipal sewer system and sewage treatment plant. The combined totals were in excess of $27,000,000.
    We were all astounded that only 8-9 people were in the audience and that not one question was asked during either question period.
    The entire town was eligible to sign the register against the loan bylaws – only 8 people did so, the majority of whom were from the Seigneurie area. This area as well as the upper part of Bellevue was later removed from those who would be serviced by the sewer system anyway at the insistence of MAMROD.
    I would like to be very clear about the loan bylaw for the water distribution network and filtration plant that did contain monies for extending the municipal water line to the end of Main Road in the west end. At the time the loan bylaw was being developed, the properties at the far west end of Main Road were being serviced by a well in Rigaud. The quality of the water was terrible and there was no assurance from Rigaud that they would be replacing this well anytime soon. We felt we had no choice in the meantime but to supply these residents with bottled water for drinking purposes at no charge and to allocate $$ to extend the water line from MacCaulay Hill to the west end border of Hudson on Main Road.
    However, later on – after adopting the bylaw, Rigaud did inform us that they would be proceeding with replacing the well. Council, the Town Engineer and LBCD jointly weighed our options whether to proceed with extending our own line or to wait for Rigaud. We eventually opted for the latter for a myriad of reasons. The monies specifically designated in the loan bylaw for extending the line therefore could not be used for anything else nor were they up until the time our term ended in 2009. Any unused $$ in a long term loan bylaw do not get added to the town’s long term debt when the short term loans are converted into long term bond issues.
    Time was certainly a factor in our decision. Main Road west of MacCaulay Hill is agricultural all the way to the west end border. We felt that it would take much longer to obtain permission from the CPTAQ and Minister of Environment than it would take Rigaud to replace the well.
    With respect to what the property owners would eventually pay for water tax and the operating costs for the sewer system once both projects were completed – the Town Engineer, Trail Grubert, in conjunction with Camille Belanger, the town’s Project Manager for these two projects, LBCD, our engineering consultants, and Paul Boudreau, spent the better part of a year reviewing water consumption estimates for all the commercial properties and businesses in the center of town relative to the average household – given that 98% of our tax revenues come from residential properties – to try and come with a “fair” allocation to each property in the absence of water meters.
    No commercial property could be charged less than a single family dwelling. It was assumed that businesses with 1-5 employees would be charged less than those with 6-10, etc. in the case of offices. Large water users such as hairdressers, restaurants, bars, etc. would be charged more than offices – # of seats, # meals served per day, # days open per week were some of the factors taken into consideration when establishing the rates for these businesses. At the time the water tax per household was $240.00.
    A chart was eventually finalized after several simulations were done to ensure that theory matched reality. These rates came into effect in 2011 I believe. There were some initial screwups as Mme Villandre made several incorrect interpretations of this chart that were later corrected.
    In 2013, council lowered the rate for residential properties to $69.00 per year ($420 for HV and A and another amount for west end residents) and upped the commercial rate for every business regardless of the number of employees, nature of the business, to $500.00 (per door) for water and the same for sewage. We have to thank Mme Haulard for this fiasco! She maintained that some businesses were being favored, basically fueling the “corruption” flames which council bought into. In a meeting that I attended with the Mayor, some members of council and Mme Haulard, she used the example of a restaurant on one side of Main Road paying less water tax than another on the opposite side of the road – what she failed to take into consideration was the fact that one restaurant had many fewer seats and was only open for two meals a day……….
    A committee was formed with representatives from council, residents and commercial property owners to try and push this “square peg” through the “round” hole – Little headway has been made since ……. Residents will be paying more in 2017 but the average business will still be paying too much – $350.00 per business not per building. This is an important distinction to make especially in the case of multiple businesses in a building. A good example is the property across from the old fire station – there are 5 businesses in that building and a total of 5 people who work there. There is no kitchen, no washing machines, no showers, a total of two bathrooms, only 1 person works on the weekends – yet according to the town’s logic – the building will be charged 5 x $350 for water tax and a similar amount for sewage whereas a household with two adults and 2-4 children will be charged 700% less!
    At the December budget meeting , Ron Goldenberg justified raising the residential water rates to reflect actual costs – where does it say that it costs more to supply businesses with water than it does households when they are being serviced by the same well, filtration plant and the same water lines?
    If they are going to take steps to redo the 2017 budget then fix this injustice as well PLEASE!

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      1. Ideally this is what it should be but the only way to achieve this scenario is for all properties serviced by the municipal water system to be metered.

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    1. I still don’t understand how it can be legal that a bylaw gets passed saying one thing, but in the end something else gets done? I would have contested bylaw 504 from the get go if it had not contained a water line to the west end from the urban water system. The frustration is compounded by the fact that nobody told us of the change of plans. Again, I fail to understand how plans can change after the process is followed. And I was indeed told by Louise Villandre that the one million dollars earmarked for this part of the project was never borrowed so never made it’s way into the loan. For what that is worth.

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  8. Also, a little correction on facts Liz, that building you refer to has had a catering restaurant in it for the past 3 years. Baron Bites, Caterer, who took over from EGourmet, were on the ground floor, downstairs from the 3 businesses upstairs, has recently moved, but I get your point. I also thought it ridiculous to charge $69 for water. I guess just looking at what other towns are doing might yield some solutions for a fair spreading of the expenses or do they all have water meters?
    As far as extending the line because from the farm to Montee Lavigne those residents were getting terrible water? I remember the town supplying bottled water to them. What about the 80 homes without water though, at least those with Rigaud water could flush their toilet and take a shower, perhaps while holding their nose, but still.

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  9. I’m sure if they had borrowed more than the loan bylaw stipulated there would indeed be an illegality. It’s hard to imagine borrowing less than the bylaw had stipulated could trigger an infraction. It remains a statement that was made, rethought,and rescinded . The $1 million was never really there and by extension was never rerouted elsewhere. They just never should have proposed it w/o proper due diligence as to the final costs. Daren and Diane , I’m one of you, the forgotten pipeless. Time to do a survey of the 75 or so unwatered of the west end and see based on the cost whether they are willing. You guys have been pretty strong on voicing how the west has been hard done by but I’m not 100% positive it’s the majority opinion here. ” Righting the wrongs of the past” may be just more quixotic tilting for the sake of a headline on a slow news week in our past.

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    1. Hopefully the next administration will take the water issue more seriously. Having a water ban at the end of April should tell you we have a serious problem. If you remember our council heeded the advice of Trail who told council that Bradbury well was silting up and we needed a new well which would take about 1-1/2 years to completion. We passed a notice of motion for a new well probably in Sept. of 2013 if memory serves me right. We never tried to pass the resolution for the by-law at the next council meeting as those running for office thought it wasn’t necessary, too expensive, blah blah blah. We figured we were on our way out, couldn’t follow up on anything so passed it off to the next council thinking they would implement it. They got elected and sat on the water issue for almost 3 years and then surprise? “we need a new well” they said.. As far as the west end’s problem, seems to me we have a councillor who is elected to represent us in our district.Nathalie Best should lobby for us. She should go and speak with every property owner of the 80 homes without water. Not such a hardship, as councillors-to-be knock on many doors trying to get votes I have never seen or heard from my councillor regarding this issue, (or any other time) even when I invited her to my house to discuss, the first tax bill we got that increased our taxes by !,000. She didn’t come. Council did rejig the tax bills and took out an amount that we should not have been charged. You have to understand that the 80 homes without water, still pay through general coffers many costs associated with water. Ask Daren about this he has asked council many times if certain expenses that come up every month having to do with water comes out of general coffers. All he gets is “I don’t know”. That’s why I asked why doesn’t the town test our well water for us, at least for bacteria? I would think the town gets a preferred rate.It would at least be a show of good faith while we wait for that elusive line. The DG said they would have a “Memoire” on that and get back to me. Still waiting.

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      1. Forgot to mention something. One of our neighbours told me he just used to take his water sample to the town and they would test it for him. I guess that was before this administration because that is no longer available. You now what else is now also not available? First time we went away for the winter I emailed Philippe Baron who was now handling public security to mention that we would be away, just to let them know. Seemed to me we were always advised by the towns we lived in, the small ones anyway, to advise the local authorities so if they saw anything suspicious they could alert authorities. I was told because of insurance concerns they don’t keep an eye on citizens homes. I can understand if you live in Montreal but a small town where you should know your public security, I find this is one more service that we don’t have anymore. Let’s pile on the taxes but remove as many services to residents, instead save all your money for lawyers, more staff, attracing visitors, etc. etc. etc.

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    2. Talk about going full circle Brian. I will not open that Pandoras box as I already know the answer. Chalk the changes to bylaw 504 up as a lost opportunity. Sometimes people don’t know what they want until their well goes dry or becomes contaminated and no longer potable. I also think I might be publicly mistaken as lobbying to have a town water line installed through to the west end. What I am actually lobbying for is not to be taxed on services for which I do not receive. Some of those “piped” seem to think we “pipeless” should contribute to the municipal water works. To me the simplest way to ensure fairness to that approach is to provide the same service and charge everybody the same tax.
      As for the infraction or illegality question, I still don’t understand how one thing could have been presented, agreed to, not contested as it suited all affected, passed, signed, etc, and then changed without presentation, announcement, consultation to those affected or explanation on the reason why and the effect on the budget for said project. So I can sit here and doubt as much as I want; you and Elizabeth can sit here and say “oh that million dollars was probably never borrowed” as much as you want, but without proof, there will always be a question mark. And, for the record, I actually challenged Mayor Corker in the hallway on the original million dollar west end water project in regards to what I felt was nowhere near enough money. She assured me that modern technology, methodology and equipment would make the plan a reality. My answer to her was, “if that is true, why not install the sewer line while you are at it?”

      In my naive little mind, once a plan is agreed to by the population and the bylaw passes all the signature hurdles, it can’t be changed. Can it? Legally?
      Can we have a loan bylaw presented and passed for a defined project, something like communal high speed internet for all citizens for a fixed common rate, for all and then, working the infrastructure from Hudson’s west border to east border, run out of money to purchase more fiber optic cable at the corner of Main and Bellevue and then not provide the agreed service to those Hudson residents east of Bellevue? Even though the bylaw was passed on the premise that EVERYBODY was going to get the same service? AND then tell them (residents east of Bellevue), sorry, we miscalculated so we will not be providing you with internet service that was agreed to when we passed the bylaw, but we expect you to pay your token non-serviced amount anyways as you are after all still citizens and may log on to the internet when you come to the community centre in town. And really, there’s only about 70 or 80 of you anyways. Would that fly? Would that be legal too?

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Actually , Diane, last week’s National Post ( Saturday Jan.7/17) article by Rex Murphy is completely about how most Canadian municipalities are paying more tax money for less service. So I guess there’s safety in numbers for Hudson.

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  11. You’re right Daren , the Corker adm. made a promise they couldn’t keep . Maybe the right thing to do at the time was admit the amount of money provided by 504 was inadequate , shown the revised cost estimates , and in the interests of fair play gone back and passed a supplementary loan bylaw. There was no reason to single out the west end as the cost overrun culprits in the grand scheme. It was just the easy way out and pretty cynical ,politically ,because we are so few here .

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