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Water and wastewater bills in city see marginal increase — for now

Nelsonites can expect a minor increase on their utility bill this year to deal with water and wastewater, but it will rise significantly in the near future once a improvements are fully realized and costed out for the city’s sewage treatment plant — Kristian Bjornard, Creative Commons

Call it the calm before the storm.

Nelsonites can expect a minor increase on their utility bill this year to deal with water and wastewater, but it will rise significantly in the near future once a improvements are fully realized and costed out for the city’s sewage treatment plant.

“Because major improvements to the sewage treatment plant (STP) are required in the near future, council has kept the 2019 reallocation of rates between wastewater and water utilities in place,” city chief financial officer Colin McClure told city council during its first regular business meeting of 2022.

“This will build the sewer reserve and contribute funding to the expected capital upgrades, while keeping both utility fees at inflationary increases.”

Based on the discussions at the utility budget meetings — including a major session in mid-December — council passed third reading to direct city staff to bump the 2022 rates, discounts and potential future capital expenditures.

As a result, Nelsonites will see a two per cent increase in water and a 1.5 per cent increase in wastewater rates for both residential and ICI users. With all of the increases factored in, rates for a single family dwelling (SFD) will rise by $18 per year (to $1,089), or by $1.50 per month.

McClure said the water and wastewater utilities are based on a fee for service model, with rates charged for water and sewer covering operating and capital costs, as well as building “adequate reserves to fund future capital expenditures.”

Other considerations

• The city will continue with the 75 per cent rate discount for conforming suites that are rented long term;

• it will continue with the ICI water loss mitigation projects;

• the city is expected to complete the wastewater strength and characterization investigation project, compile the data and create a plan and report on a mitigation strategy; and

• put the implementation of phase two of the meter rate increase on hold until further meter data information has been collected. The meter rate is to be increased by the normal increases to the other water and wastewater rates.

Implementation of the 33 per cent meter rate increase is scheduled for 2023 and 2024.

Source: City of Nelson agenda