Your water rates are going up.
After a lengthy debate between councillors at City Hall Wednesday a recommendation to hike your bill was approved by a vote of 11-5.
That means your rates will be going up by about $300 over the next three years.
The controversial plan includes a 9.2 per cent increase for this year, then 8.9 per cent in 2017 and 7.4 per cent in 2018. For the average family, that works out to about $69, $100 and $92 annual increases.
The Mayor and some councillors have said it is a necessary jump to pay for upgrades to the new water and sewer system, in part to meet new provincial standards.
But a 12 per cent dividend from the utility revenues isn’t even being poured into our water system. Instead, it is going into the city’s general revenue – more than $32 million from the $319 million in revenue this year.
“It’s open and transparent; it’s not my favourite revenue source,” Mayor Bowman said.
He’s hoping the new provincial government will provide more cash to the city for infrastructure projects.
“We continue to have conversations about fair share and fair say, we’ll look to continue those conversations with our new provincial partners,” Bowman added.
The dividend from the water and sewer revenues will help balance the budget and will be spent on other infrastructure projects like roads and to help keep the city running.
Councillor Brian Mayes, Chair of the Water and Waste Committee, told reporters it is necessary move.
“Even if we cancelled this year’s increase and said no more dividend, there’s two problems: we’d still need the increase in future years and secondly we’d have a hole in the operating budget of $32 million,” Mayes said.
Councillors Jason Shreyer and Russ Wyatt attempted to move a motion that the Public Utilities Board should review any application for an increase, but that shot down by their fellow councillors.