Eston residents will not be subject to tax municipal tax increases this year as outlined in the new budget.
Jody Schmidt, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Eston, shared that they were able to keep the taxes and landfill fees the same as last year, in addition, the Town will not be increasing utility rates either, something that happened twice last year.
“With residents already having to budget in for the new carbon tax, we are happy that we didn’t have to increase the taxes or utilities and hopefully with some of the other changes happening this year, residents will be able to have a better understanding of their water usage,” said Schmidt.
The changes she referred to is a new automated water meter system, which will not only save employees a large amount of time to collect the data, residents will also be able to track their usage through an app.
“Residents will be able to access their usage through an app on their phone, which will also send notifications when they are reaching their average usage,” said Schmidt.
She added residents will be able to see what day and how much was used and will be able to make better sense of their utility bill.
“If a person gets their bill and it takes them by surprise and they aren’t sure why the total is what it is, this app will give them the opportunity to see exactly where there water is going and give context to their bill,” added Schmidt.
The water meter’s will come at a cost and therefore the Town is expecting to only install approximately half this year, with the remaining being complete next year.
In addition to the meter’s, the Town will continue to work on the sewer line project which was started last year.
Schmidt explained that some of the underground pipes are deteriorating and they will be evaluating which pipes require maintenance and will be taking an innovative approach to fix them.
“It’s actually really cool, there is a material that we are able to put inside the existing pipe which will restore the integrity of the pipes, and we can do this without digging up a lot of the ground that’s covering the pipes,” explained Schmidt.
Restoration of the sewer lines is also a necessary first-step before the Town can discuss attention to roadways.
“We want to make sure everything below ground is solid before we can start addressing any roadways or anything above ground. We don’t want to get into a situation where we spend a bunch of money, only to possibly wreck some of it, tending to pipes and things underground,” said Schmidt.
The sewer line project will move forward in a priority sequence, addressing the weakest pipes first and continuing on from there as much as the budget will allow.