Storm sewer clouds brewing

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Woman wants St. John’s to withdraw bill for work she says didn’t need doing

A St. John’s woman says city hall has slapped her with a bill to fix a problem that didn’t need solving.

Lorraine Foley wants city council to withdraw a bill for $2,678.12 for the 2012 installation of a storm sewer in front of her Hoyles Avenue home. In a letter to the city, she says she and her recently deceased husband bought the house in 1972 and have never had any flooding problems.

“When we purchased our house we were informed that the previous owner had installed foundation drainage systems. I suggest to you that this is the reason why we have never experienced any issues with water,” she wrote in the letter.

Foley wrote the decision to install storm sewers has no relevance to her property.

“Given the drainage system previously referenced, as far as I am concerned as a recently widowed senior on a fixed income I am being unfairly penalized for a problem that did not exist, i.e. water entering my property.”

Foley wants the city to withdraw the bill for the installation.

“I would also like to have a review of my tax account for the last 43 years, which will show that I have been paying taxes for a service I was not receiving,” she wrote.

At last week’s finance committee meeting, Bob Bishop, the city’s manager of financial management, said the City of St. John’s Act is clear. “We shall charge assessments against property owners where there’s been an improvement or an increase in services,” he said Tuesday.

“In this particular case, I think there was other work taking place in the area, and with the street open the opportunity was taken, because there were no storm services in that area, to add it. This reduces our surcharging issues with the sanitary sewer, because the storm sewers for the most part were draining into the sanitary sewers.”

Coun. Danny Breen, chairman of the committee, directed Bishop to write back to Foley, outlining the city’s position.

Foley declined Friday to comment to The Telegram until she hears back from the city. “I really don’t want to talk about it until — I haven’t talked to city hall yet,” she said. “I’ve been in my house 43 years, and I never, ever, ever had issues with water. … I don’t know how this is going to pan out.”

 

 

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  • Ken Collis
    July 14, 2014 - 06:05

    Hey Bob Bishop, when you degrade a service does the city offer a refund?