Water and sewer rates set to increase again in 2014

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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 the third year of the City’s 10 year plan towards full cost recovery. In 2013, the rates went up to $1.12 per cubic metre for water and $1.18 per cubic metre for sewer.

The bulk sewer rate for the Wastewater Transfer Station until it closes at the end of 2014 will increase to $7 per cubic metre received from $4.50, based on suggestions made at the City’s meeting with sewer haulers in September. Also coming out of that meeting is a $200 fee to access the station outside of operating hours for emergencies.

The fixed monthly charge will also increase to $12 for each sewer utility account from $10.20, while the fixed monthly charge for water will go up to $13 from $10.85. The bulk water rate will remain at $3 per cubic metre, but with an additional $3 per metre surcharge for non-domestic water users.

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There will also be an additional incentive for customers to use the new eBilling system, as the discount is going up from $1 a month to $5 a month, while the charge for another paper copy of their bill is also increasing to $5 a month.

Based on projections, it’s expected the City will pull in $823,000 from sewer charges in 2014, which will go towards the sewer reserve, which has been depleted by recent work on the sewer system. At the same time, the capital sewer projects for next  year are anticipated to be $1.45 million, so the revenue will not be enough to cover the expenditures. That’s not the case for water, as the expected $1.444 million generated should cover the anticipated $1.27 million in capital projects.

The amended water and sewer bylaws were given first three readings at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, with final reading expected on October 28.

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