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Sewer, water rate hike approved by council


Sewer and water rates will be going up again this year after town council approved an increase at its regular meeting Monday night.

After going through several scenarios at a meeting last Wednesday, the Operations and Facilities executive committee recommended the following, to which council agreed:

  • a one-percent increase to the flat rate for residential customers (water will be going up from $35.47 to $35.82 a month while sewer will go up from $31.29 to $31.61);
  • a one-percent increase to the metered rate for non-residential (water will go up from $2.40/cubic metre to $2.42 while sewer will increase from $2.12/cubic metre to $2.14);
  • a three-percent increase to the volumetric rate for the industrial and commercial classes (water will go up from $1.15/cubic metre to $1.18 while sewer will go up from $1.01/cubic metre to $1.04);
  • a new institutional class, separate from industrial and commercial, with a nine-percent increase to the volumetric rate (water will go up from $1.15/cubic metre to $1.25 while sewer will increase from $1.01/cubic metre to $1.10);
  • a reduction in the amount of water included in the institutional and commercial and industrial minimum flat rate from 216 cubic metres to 180 cubic metres a year; and
  • a three-percent increase for private/dedicated fire hydrants (this will go up from $45.73 per unit to $47.10); and
  • a three-percent increase for private sprinkler systems (this will go up from $14.34 per system to $14.77).

These rates go into effect retroactively to Jan. 1, 2012 and will be reflected on the first water and sewer bill of 2012 (January/February), which customers will be receiving early next month.

These increases are expected to generate additional revenue in the amount of $216,556.41.

“The reason why we’re collecting the additional revenue is to actually start building reserves,” explained Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown.

“One of the reasons why we’re building reserves is we have approximately $25 million in deferred capital,” he noted.

“In other words, some of our sewer and water pipes are in the system but should be replaced, and we’re on a plan to do that but we need the money—the revenue—to do that.”

The increased revenue also falls in line with the recommendations made last year by BMA Management Consulting Inc. in the asset management financial plan it prepared for the town, which stated the town should raise sewer and water rates by five percent each year for the next five years.

“So we’re meeting the financial plan we submitted to the provincial government, and this is just the start,” said Brown.

On the bright side, a monthly meter replacement charge, which was supposed to kick in for ICI customers this year, will be deferred until 2013, as most of those customers will be paying for their new water meters or meter upgrades this year.

Furthermore, the Operations and Finance executive committee will start to review sewer and water rates and increases in October.

That way, 2013 rates can be approved in December, when all other 2013 municipal user fees and charges are being reviewed and approved by council.

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