Kimberley residents will be paying more in utility fees in the coming year, as rising inflation and other factors means a five per cent increase in sewer rates. However water rates will see only a two per cent increase as city CFO Jim Hendricks advised council that forecasted water reserve balances are sufficient to fund capital projects planned.
Hendricks provided the following information to council:
“For financial purposes, the City’s operations are segregated into three funds, the general fund, water fund and sewer fund. The water and sewer funds are self funding utilities which means that the operating expenditures, capital expenditures and reserve contributions specific to these utilities are fully funded from the revenue that is collected within the respective utility which is primary comprised of user fees. Each year as part of the budget deliberation process, the water and sewer user fees are reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted to ensure the resulting revenue is sufficient to fund planned expenditures and reserve contributions.”
The current sewer rate for a single family dwelling will increase by $5.22 from $104.52 to $109.74 per quarter. The current water rate for a single family dwelling will increase by $2.43 from $121.68 to $124.11 per quarter.
Both rates will increase on January 1, 2023.
Bulk water rates will also increase by 10 per cent.
The primary customers of bulk metered water are Resorts of the Canadian Rockies for snow making at Kimberley Alpine Resort and irrigation at Trickle Creek Golf Course and Teck Metals Ltd. On rare occasion when their pumps are down, the City also supplies bulk water to Bootleg Gap Golf Course.
“As first highlighted during deliberation of the 2018-2022 Five Year Financial Plan, the water rate set for bulk users had remained unchanged at $1.18 per 1,000 gallons for 14 years from 2004 through 2017. By comparison, the water rate for a single family home increased by approximately 41.8% over that same time period,” Hendricks wrote in a report to council.
“An analysis undertaken by the City’s consulting engineers determined that the bulk water rate being charged was disproportionately low in comparison to the estimated cost of providing the water. The analysis estimated that at the 2017 rate of $1.18 per 1,000 gallons, the bulk water rate was set at approximately 29 per cent of what it costs the City to provide the water which the engineers calculated at $4.07 per 1,000 gallons. The result of this inequity is that the residential and commercial customers that are being billed flat rate water fees (because they are not metered) are subsidizing the cost of supplying the bulk water. “
The new rate is now $2.27 per 1000 gallons.