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Attendance a slow trickle at water budget hearing

With budgets worth $1.5 billion on the table yesterday, only twoToronto councillors and two members of the public showed up before thebudget committee to ask questions or air their views.

With budgets worth $1.5 billion on the table yesterday, only two Toronto councillors and two members of the public showed up before the budget committee to ask questions or air their views.

That meant the hearings on water and garbage budgets — both of which will hit residents with rate increases — wrapped up in less than an hour.

If council approves, water rates will rise by nine per cent this year — a $51 increase for a typical household, to $618.

The fee for a medium garbage bin will rise $5, to $44; the fee for large bins by $9, to $140; and extra-large bins by $8, to $198. Small bin users will get a $6 refund, down from $10.

Besides the budget committee members, only councillors Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) and Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-York) appeared to ask questions or make proposals.

Stintz queried whether the city’s downspout-disconnection program should be altered. The city has ordered residents to disconnect eavestrough downspouts from the sewer system by the end of 2010 to prevent sewers from being overwhelmed during heavy rainstorms and backing up into basements.

 
 
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