EDITORIAL: Fee solution isn’t perfect

The district has put together a list of homes they “suspect” have secondary suites in them.

Last week’s decision by city council to crack down on unregistered secondary suites has received plenty of feedback – both positive and negative.

The issue is this: Homeowners who have registered secondary suites are billed double for water, sewer and garbage because more than one family resides in the home. Those who have not registered their  suites are paying the normal fee.

The district has put together a list of homes they “suspect” have secondary suites in them. Those residences will be double billed. If the home does not have a suite, then the homeowner can appeal and an inspection team will come out. If there is no suite, then the added fee will be dropped, or refunded if already paid.

So what’s the problem?

If you are a homeowner with nothing to hide, the inspection will take five minutes and cost you nothing.

If you have a secondary suite, then you should be paying like everyone else.

The opposing argument is that a single person renting out a basement suite to another single person uses less water, sewer and garbage services than a family of six with no suite.

While that may be true, until every Mission home has a water meter – a costly but valubale endeavour  – homes built in 2008 and earlier all pay the same flat rate for utilities, no matter what the occupancy. Council’s move to double bill isn’t perfect. But it is an inexpensive way to collect fees until a better, more equitable solution is initiated.

 

Mission City Record

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