Residents of East Coulee and Lehigh may have difficulty swallowing the latest estimates for the cost of adding municipal water lines.
In May of this year, the Town of Drumheller was approved for a $3.4 million grant to extend water from Cambria to East Coulee.
For years residents have relied on water wells. The quality of water varies dramatically between households, from the crystal clear to the clear as mud.
The grant would not cover the entire cost however, and residents would foot 10 per cent of the bill through a local improvement tax.
Until now, East Coulee residents have been kept in the dark as to what the cost will be.
It was announced in the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, October 17, the price per connection would be $15,768.94.
This is significantly higher than previous estimates, which had placed the cost at roughly $11,000.
The cause of the dramatic increase is more accurate determination of how many lots need water. The number of parcels of land that need water has dropped from 295 to 206. Less parcels means the total cost of the project is divided amongst fewer people.
Two ammortization periods were brought to council, 20 and 25 years. In the 20 year scheme residents would pay $1,095.32 per year in taxes. The 25 year plan would have taxes of $942.08, but at a cost of just over $1,500 more in interest.
To ease the blow, council believes house insurance will drop, and residents will no longer have to spend money on maintaining their wells.
East Coulee residents were already divided on the issue, with many reserving their judgment until numbers were given. The higher cost could exacerbate the issue and cause those waiting to reject improvements.
Council is going to send information to residents regarding the proposed scheme and will soon schedule a meeting with residents to discuss the proposal.