As if things weren’t expensive enough already… The city of Montreal is now considering various ways to tax its running water service. Although no taxation system has yet been officially announced, the city has announced that it will consider such taxes in its 2020 municipal budget.
In recent years, Montreal has spent a lot of money on its water infrastructures. According to official city documents, Montreal’s municipal water infrastructure spans 10 000 km of aqueducts and is valued at $30.5 billion. Much of that infrastructure is in terrible shape – in many cases, brick & mortar aqueducts built in the 19th century are still in use.
The city estimates it would need about $1 billion dollars more, annually, than it currently has, to properly care for this massive and essential infrastructure. Already, all non-residential building are being fitted with water counters, and the city says that by 2022, most non-residential buildings will have such equipment installed.
That’s where the idea of a tax comes in. Such a tax could take many forms:
- A tax on recreational uses of water (pools, water parks, fountains, wading pools);
- A tax on industrial uses of water (for example: farming, breweries, textiles, restaurants);
- A water tax based on property value (similar to the school tax);
- A water tax based on footprint (square feet, number of apartment, etc.);
- A water tax based on volume of water used as measured by a water counter.
Out of these options, which do you think make the most sense for Montreal? Would you be OK with paying the city a water tax in order to make sure the water infrastructure is kept in good condition?
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