12 p.m., Feb. 18)
Environment committee approves 6% increase in water rate
By Fred Sherwin
property owners can expect a six per cent increase in
their water and sewer bills this year after the city's
environment committee approved the hike on Tuesday.
the recommended increase must still be approved by city
council, it is seen as a mere formality meaning residents
can expect to pay an additional $48 a year based on an
average level of consumption.
part of the problem the city faces is a steady drop in
consumption in recent years which has led to a reduction
become a vicious circle. The more the city increases water
and sewer rates, the greater the incentive for people
to reduce their consumption which equates to less money
for the city..
problem is that the cost of providing clean water and
treating waste water keeps rising along with the cost
of maintaining the city's aging watermains and sewer pipes.
now, the only solution is to borrow the necessary funds
to maintain the city's infrastructure.
to the staff report tabled at Tuesday's committee meeting,
"If the billing structure is not changed and Council
still desires to maintain the Citys water and sewer
assets in a good state of repair the level of debt required
will have to increase significantly."
city plans to borrow more than $97 million for water and
sewer asset renewal in 2015, that's on top of the $98.5
million the city plans to pull from its reserves. The
cost of financing that debt will be just over $8 million.
water and sewer revenues continue to decrease, the city
will remain dependent on debt financing its water and
sewer infrastructure renewal program diverting more and
more dollars from elsewhere in the budget.
projected debt financing charges for the next three years
are $8.3 million in 2016, $10.8 million in 2017 and $13
million in 2018.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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