The LIP That Refuses to Die
Despite overwhelming defeat in a city-wide referendum, the Local Improvement Program (LIP) funding model originally imposed on property owners in phase one of the Cast Iron Water Main replacement program refuses to die. It reared its ugly head again at Monday night’s Executive Committee meeting, only to be quickly tabled until the July 9th meeting when councillors realized the affected property owners had not been informed the matter was being discussed.
For background, Moose Jaw City Council approved the use of a mandatory LIP to force property owners who were unlucky enough to abut a cast iron water main to pay 30% of the cost of replacing that water main. The work was done in the summer of 2016.
Before the work was completed, a petition was submitted to the City forcing a referendum on the use of the LIP. The City, through their contractor, offered a contract to affected property owners identifying the cost of service connection replacement. This contract was not contingent on the LIP funding model surviving the referendum. It does not mention the referendum at all. Property owners signed the offered contract in good faith.
The property owners contend that the City is not only refusing to honour the existing contracts, but the cost schedule being used to calculate the cost of this work was passed by the City in 2017 and does not reflect the City’s rate schedule or actual costs at the time the work was completed.