Next water/sewer rate increase scheduled for January 1, 2013

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

"This is right in line with the conversation that we had last year, and I am comfortable with this moving forward," commented Mayor Lori Ackerman during the City Council meeting Monday.

It currently costs the City approximately $2.78 per cubic metre for water and $2.08 per cubic metre for sewer services. In order to reduce the shock to residents, rate increases are being phased in over the next 10 years. In addition, frontage charges are being removed from the annual tax bill.

"I get quite a few comments about all the different charges," explains Councillor Bruce Christensen. "People want to see one charge. Make it clean, clear."

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Starting in 2013, water within the city will be charged at $1.12 per cubic metre, and sewer at $1.18 per cubic metre. The fixed monthly charge will go from $10.00 to $10.85 for water and $10.20 for sewer. Rural residents will see their rate go from $2.50, which was unchanged in 2012, to $3.00, and the bulk water rate will go from $2 to $3.00.

The City will also be introducing eBilling over the next couple of months, which means those who subscribe will receive their bills online instead of a paper copy. As this will help save on mailing costs, those who use eBills will receive a $1.00 a month discount on their account. Alternatively, those who request a paper bill will be charged $1.00 per copy.

Council chose to implement the new rates on January 1, instead of April or July 1, despite it being only six months since the last rate increase.

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