Pair of city councillors against water meters - for now

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Water use

While an energy efficiency group has recommended installing water meters in Cornwall home, a pair of city councillors said this week such a notion doesn't, uh, hold water with them.

At a city council meeting recently a report from the Cornwall's energy efficiency working group suggested a slew of items that could be employed to reign in the consumption of things like gasoline, electricity and water.

The most contentious idea is to eventualy install costly water meters at every home in the city.

"That would mean a huge (outlay) of capital for us," said Coun. Glen Grant, who suggested a cost-benefit analysis needs to be completed before he would support such a move.

Grant added "there's been no proof" such a scheme would benefit the city.

Both he and Coun. Maurice Dupelle agreed there's too much controversy surrounding the use of water meters to agree to their use at this time.

"Can we really make people do that?" said Dupelle, adding that is just one of many questions he has surrounding water meter use.

The belief by many is that installing water meters in homes would put taxpayers one a "pay for what you use" model of water consumption - which could result in less water being used.

But Dupelle and Grant both worry that if residents are suddenly paying for how much water they use, they might begin limiting use and consequently reduce the amount of tax money being paid to the municipality.

"There are pros and cons," said Dupelle.

The energy group's report showed the city is shelling out more money, year over year for things like electricity, gasoline and water.

Electricity jumped by more than 21 per cent, and cost taxpayers $2.5 million.

Dan Drouin, a member of the energy group, told councillors the increase is likely made up of the added consumption at new city amenities like the Benson Centre and EMS headquarters.

The 18 per cent increase in gasoline costs, which totals $1.3 million, is accounted for by the increases in fuel costs, said Drouin.

Water costs jumped by about six per cent to $336,000 thanks to the inclusion of new splash pads in the city.

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