City utility rates to increase by six per cent

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
January 6th, 2012

 Water, sewer and garbage utility rates in Castlegar will be increased by a total of six per cent for 2012 or $44 per year for the average household.   

City council gave three readings to the motion at its regular meeting Tuesday night, and is expected to adopt the new rates bylaw at its upcoming meeting on Jan. 16 (votes in favour were unanimous).   This, in response to a report issued by the city’s chief financial officer, Andre Buss.   “Under the plan, water rates will increase by $28.56 for 2012, sewer rates will increase by $15 and garbage collection rates will increase by $3,” Buss said. “The rate increase will bring the total utility bill, which is issued to residents in mid-January, up from $725 to $769.”   He said the report compared Castlegar’s 2012 rate proposal to levies charged in surrounding municipalities in 2011.   “Castlegar’s rates remain competitive and below average,” he said. “Castlegar’s proposed user fees compare favourably to those charged in many other jurisdictions in the area.   “In fact, many jurisdictions have taken on significant debt and now charge parcel taxes to support their utility programs. Castlegar’s water and sewer funds are debt-free and the city currently does not levy a parcel tax. Prudent financial planning, and keeping rates aligned with rising costs and capital infrastructure needs, will help to ensure council’s ‘pay as you go’ policy is maintained and utility fund debt requirements are minimized”.   The report also said the value of accumulated amortization in both water and sewer funds totals roughly $9 million, and that this figure provides an estimate of the amount the city should have on hand to renew its existing infrastructure.   “It represents the depreciated value of current water and sewer infrastructure. The difference between this amount and the amount on hand to renew infrastructure is the city’s -infrastructure deficit’ – roughly $2.4 million.”

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