The Seniors of Smithers were after Town of Smithers council to continue with their decades long tradition of providing them a Water and Sewer Grant that waives the fees for those services.
Taking away those fees, which is set to occur over the next several years, will add about $417 per year to senior’s expenses.
It’s not an inconsequential sum to those on limited fixed incomes.
Neither is it an inconsequential sum for the Town, which eyed that source of income to fill its coffers.
Just the 368 seniors who attended the recent council meeting would make up over $150,000 in water and sewer fees for the city.
The Town isn’t wrong for trying to build up it’s budget, money is always tight and you need to find it where you can.
But in taking with one hand, they should give back in some way with the other.
A letter from the seniors (which is printed on the opposite page) points out all of the benefits that other municipalities give to their seniors. Aside from the District of Kitimat and Village of Vanderhoof, which gives their seniors grants for utility costs, the other towns typically give some sort of break or deal when it comes to snow clearing of driveways. (Incidentally the subject of snow clearing for seniors also came up at a recent Village of Telkwa council meeting.)
If the Town here won’t reinstate the waiver, and it seems pretty clear that they won’t, it would be a good idea if they still provided incentives for seniors to stay behind in the form of, maybe, a discounted senior’s waiver, or in-kind snow clearing of driveways.
Finding that middle ground will also be helpful come election time this coming November. Ten months isn’t a whole heck-of-a-lot of time for people to forget about this, especially if the figures are true that more than half the votes in elections are by the seniors.