Water, sewer utilities slated to increase further for 2024: City Finance
Water and wastewater rates continue to climb uphill in the city after a report on the proposed utility budget has recommended another annual increase to the services.
A report from the city’s Finance department in a special budget meeting of council on Oct. 27 is suggesting a 2.5 per cent increase to the water rates charged city residents — along with a similar two per cent rise in sewer fees — to help pay for the costs related to several major projects on the horizon in 2023.
Last year City chief financial officer, Chris Jury, said the water and wastewater utility budget covers a lot of ground with capital projects, and the bill needs to be paid for that laundry list.
“What we have had in our plan for quite a few years is sort of that … increase for water and wastewater,” he said.
Including a 25 per cent rise in resource recovery costs — from $100 to $125 — the 2024 proposed utility rates will see a 3.9 per cent overall hike from 2023.
The 2024 capital projects included the Sewer Treatment Plant (STP) maintenance ($250,000), CIPP relining ($600,000), lift stations ($200,000) and a Liquid Waste Management Plan ($165,000).
On the water delivery end, 2024 capital projects include Five Mile pipeline replacement ($150,000), phase four of the finished water storage ($3.5 million), the reservoir dam inspection ($20,000) and watermain replacements ($600,000).
Jury said last year that the extra half of a per cent difference for wastewater comes out as $3 million when the city gets to the end of that wastewater treatment facility upgrade (or replacement) project. It could be $3 million less in borrowing, $3 million more in reserves, or it could just be a contingency piece that adds up over time, he added.
“I think we’ve done a good job of keeping those reserves, and fueling those reserves, and that we are able to do these projects,” Jury continued, “but also being conscious of the fact that we are in unusual times with inflation and what an impact that amount can make as we look out to the horizon as we shift to the two per cent, two per cent instead of the two per cent and one-and-a-half.”
The 2023 utility rate (combined) for a single family dwelling in Nelson was $1,334, while the proposed increase for 2024 would bump the figure by $52 per year to $1,386.