Sewer, water rates take another jump

Duane Hicks

Residents and some businesses will see an increase in sewer and water rates in 2011.
Town council approved a schedule of rates recommended by the Operations and Facilities executive committee at its regular meeting Monday night, which includes a two percent increase for residential customers.
This works out to an extra $15.71 per year per household (the total sewer and water bill for residents in 2011 will be $801.11, up from $785.40 in 2010).
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft noted the increase further boils down to 0.4 cents per day.
“That’s an excellent recommendation on behalf of the O&F division,” he said.
The flat rate for industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) customers will remain the same ($84.60 per month, or $1,015.20 per year) while the volumetric ICI metered rate (the rate paid for water used above the 215 cubic metres a year) will go up eight percent—from $2 to $2.16 per cubic metre.
However, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown noted in his report that the average cost to produce and treat one cubic metre of water is forecasted at $3.03 in 2011, meaning the volumetric ICI rate continues to be below that.
As such, residential, non-residential, and small ICI flat rate continues to have to subsidize that.
The fire hydrant and sprinkler system rates will be increased by 3.7 percent.
Brown said the rates are based on a 3.7 percent revenue target set by council, which would amount to $153,895 in additional revenue to sock away.
As discussed at its budget meeting Feb. 1, council has expressed a need to put more money away for future projects, such as the replacement of infrastructure.
Brown noted the town is proposing $2.9 million worth of capital work in 2011, with $1.7 million supported through water and sewer rates and the other $1.2 million coming from reserves.
All of council approved the new rates except for Coun. Ken Perry, who voted “nay” because “of the disparity between ICI and residential.”
“I didn’t want to see ICI go up any more, but I didn’t want to see residential go up at all,” he remarked.
“I figured that instead of putting a little bit less into the reserve fund would be better than upping the ICI rates the eight percent that we did and two percent for residential.
“I still think we should have put some into the reserve fund, maybe a little bit at a time,” Coun. Perry added.