Refunds approved over water, sewer project charges

It appears the end of the road has been reached in a long-running dispute over the amount charged to Ponoka residents for a water and sewer project.

It appears the end of the road has been reached in a long-running dispute over the amount charged to Ponoka residents for a water and sewer project.

Town council approved refunds totalling $72,191 and forgave $2,886 in costs to bring an end to the controversy that has dragged on for more than five years.

“Hopefully, we’ll see” responded town chief administrative officer Betty Quinlan when asked if this signalled the end of the issue.

About 20 residents involved in a $400,000 local improvement project to upgrade water and sewer lines in the 38th Street area will get refunds ranging from $1,163 to $12,675.

Refunds were approved after a detailed review of the project found seven gas line crossings were charged for but never installed and engineering costs had been included for work not part of the local improvement. Other water line work was excluded.

Quinlan said the gas line crossing charges were an “oversight” on the part of the company doing the work. The town has since been reimbursed.

It was also determined that some of the costs to property owners had been charged on a lot frontage basis instead of a fixed charge, which was corrected.

Two properties owed money after the review but those bills have been forgiven.

“I understand that things weren’t done properly that they want them corrected,” said Quinlan. “We’ve done our best, so hopefully this satisfies people and we can move forward and carry on.”

Quinlan said there has been no further word from residents since council’s decision.

Nick Kohlman, a Ponoka County resident, has fought for years on behalf of a group of 38th Street residents and believes the town is still not telling the whole story.

He believes costs were inflated and residents are still paying more than they should have.

Kohlman said the problems at the town office highlighted by the project still remain. Council is not getting all the facts, he claims.

He believes close to $200,000 should have been refunded.

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