Public Utility Lot rates to stay the same for now

The $30 that homeowners with access to a Public Utility Lot (PUL) currently pay will remain the same, but there could be an increase in the future.

There were three suggestions on the City council agenda recently including leaving the fee at $30, raising it to $100-$250 based on parcel size or introducing a percentage increase for 2013.

Frank and Shirley Davidson submitted a letter and photographs of the difference between their leased PUL and the City maintained PUL that clearly identified the best option as having homeowners maintaining the PULs.

“We have lived in our house for seven years and have a PUL in front and maintained it,” said Frank. “The City PULs have dandelions and weeds at the fences. Our PUL is as nice as any City park.”

The Davidsons were very happy with the resolution to keep the lease fee at $30 for the time being.

“I recommend that we keep the fees the same as it has mutual benefits for landowners and for the City to have landowners maintain them,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

Councillor Tara Veer said she also thought the fee should remain the same.

“It is right for our community to keep the utility lot leases at the current value. If the landowners weren’t entering into these leases the maintenance cost would fall to the City.”

Veer said that it appears to be a win-win situation right now with the PULs being maintained as well as a little bit of revenue being generated.

Veer’s incentive to keep the fees the same is to not make new landowners hesitant to take on the lease fees.

“If people weren’t willing to enter into these leases because the costs were prohibitive then we would be responsible again.”

Councillor Cindy Jefferies recommended a slight fee increase in time and said specifically that the recommended fee increases in the proposal were too much.

Meanwhile, Curtis said that the proposed changes wouldn’t be covering new costs.

“We charged $30 because there is a mutual benefit but those dollars will at least partially pay the lease and the insurance,” said Curtis.

Councillor Frank Wong supported Jefferies’ recommendation of a slight increase over time.

“Even 20 years ago I questioned whether the $30 was cheap because we had to run through the different departments for referral. This $30 didn’t cover anybody’s time at all. I think over the years people would support $50 maybe,” he said.

Council voted unanimously in favour of the $30 fee.