Iqaluit starts billing again

City will try to catch up on unpaid water delivery invoices.



IQALUIT – Backlogged water bills will be making their way into the mailboxes of residential property owners in Iqaluit by the end of this month.

Usually people paying for water receive a bill every two months. But no bills have been issued since the city’s work-stoppage began last April. Workers returned to their jobs July 17.

Mayor John Matthews said that while people won’t be invoiced for garbage collection, since that service wasn’t provided, the city needs to wade through paperwork to get on top of its water bills.

“We have to catch up, but to the best of my knowledge we kept records of what water was delivered during the labour dispute,” he said.

Usually water is charged according to the consumption rate. People on pipe services will be charged for the water they consumed, Matthews said, which would be their usual amount. Those on the truck service will also be charged, but at a reduced rate because delivery was reduced.

“It’s going to take a while to get it out, but if it is a whopping bill there will be allowances to arrange payment,” Matthews said.

In a memo to council, the city’s director of finance, Don Piché, is recommending there be no interest penalties charged to people on their bills between April 17 and July 16, the period of work stoppage.

That could involve interest penalties for already billed land-lease payments, water, sewage and garbage fees, and property tax arrears.

The memo suggests adopting this would mean a loss of $7,500 in revenue from land lease arrears; $45,000 from property tax arrears (although Piche notes much of this would be lost anyway because they are “difficult collection files”); and an estimated $4,500 loss from municipal services arrears.

There weren’t enough council members present at a special city council meeting Tuesday to form a quorum, so a decision on whether to waive the interest fees will have to wait until the next council meeting.

The city’s director of engineering and public works, Matthew Hough, said once council decides on the interest waiver question, home-owners can expect to see their first water bill fairly quickly.

He said over the course of the next few months people will be billed for the services provided during the strike.

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