At a lively Council meeting last Tuesday, councillors voted to split the cost of water to cross-lease properties equally between households on the land. Four different options were considered at the meeting, following a $100,000 report into the issue released by Council last week.
Councillors debated the issue and then heard from a vocal contingent of ratepayers in the public gallery, keen to let the council know how they would be disadvantaged by splitting costs equally with their neighbours.
An initial resolution at the meeting that cross-lease properties would remain on a Uniform Annual Charge (UAC) for 12 months to allow for more data to be collected on water usage was voted down 8 – 5. Councillor Graeme Webber said he was not in favour of delaying the decision while more data was collected, citing the case of his mother who lives in a cross-lease unit. “I think there’s enough data to show that a lot of people in units could save up to half (on the UAC they pay now),” Cr Webber said.
Council then voted 9 – 4 in favour of splitting the cost equally, pledging to look at the issue in 12 months to see if this method is a fair way of allocating the cost of water to around 1000 older cross lease properties, which make up 7 percent of properties connected to the Waipa town supply.
Leamington resident Kelvin Dunn said he was unhappy with the result, as the other household on his cross leased property uses “vastly” more water than he does. “I have just spent more than $7,000 upgrading my bathroom to include a water-efficient toilet and replaced the bath with a shower. I wish I hadn’t done that now,” he said.
Kelvin, who lives alone, put his case to councillors at the meeting but was ultimately disappointed in the outcome. “I appreciated the chance to have my say, but I don’t feel that I was listened to,” he said.
Councillors who voted against the second resolution were Mayor Jim Mylchreest, Councillors Liz Stolwyk, Vern Wilson and Hazel Barnes.