MOOSE JAW, Sask.- Another conflict emerged in the ongoing debate over how Moose Jaw will pay for much needed cast iron water main replacement.
Last month, city council approved the use of a Local Improvement Program (LIP) funding model. This will see affected property owners pay 30 per cent of the cost, with the city paying the remaining 70 per cent.
Estimates released by the city have this amount pegged at over $500 per frontage foot.
Citizens Advocating Sensible Taxation (CAST) are circulating a petition to make the payment structure a ballot issue during October’s municipal election.
READ MORE: Petition launched to get water main referendum included in Moose Jaw election
However the city says CAST is circulating an incomplete “Indemnity and Release” document. Essentially, it’s a waiver that allows city crews to do work on private property to replace connection infrastructure to the water system.
The city says CAST omitted the words “negligence in performance of work expected.”
CAST takes issue with the wording saying it’s unclear what would happen if construction related issue arise.
“The waiver itself waives everything. The city says they will be responsible in their press release, but that’s not the same standard as negligence,” spokesperson Terry Gable said.
However, the city says that’s exactly what the negligence clause means.
“It’s pretty clear that would include if something was to happen that’s a result of us performing construction in a way that’s unsafe or there was damage incurred, we would of course be liable for that,” Joe Mickleborough, Moose Jaw’s Director of Engineering Services, said.
The city set a May 27th at noon deadline for the waivers so they can get rolling with the June 1 construction start date.
CAST continues to collect signatures for their petition to have a referendum on using LIP or general revenue to pay for water main replacement.
Gable says they have about 2,500 signatures of the needed 3,500 to get on the ballot.