Utility costs will be rising in the next few years with Council introducing a new parcel tax in 2015, and an increase in user fees.
One of the major challenges facing municipalities is aging infrastructure, and somehow finding the money in increasingly tight budgets to pay for necessary upgrades or replacement.
While preparing the new Financial Plan, Kimberley’s Mayor and Council approved a ten year, water, sewer infrastructure and fleet plan.
The plan indicated a need to increase funding of water infrastructure $369,491 and sewer infrastructure $118,890 in 2015 with a 3.5 per cent inflationary factor going forward.
Therefore, a new water and sewer parcel tax will be introduced in 2015 to provide sustained funding to replace Kimberley’s aging utility infrastructure. This $107.59 parcel tax will be added to the yearly property tax statement in 2015. It will rise slightly each year to $119.97 in 2018.
In addition, fleet replacement expenses will be covered by an increase in user fees.
The Water and sewer department has a small fleet comprised of mostly pickup trucks and the vactor truck, but it also utilizes equipment from the general fund fleet as needed without contributing to the operational cost of the fleet, which was approximately 37.5 per cent of general fund fleet costs in 2013. The plan indicated a need to fund fleet costs of $203,132 for water and $113,324 for sewer in 2015 with a 2.5 per cent inflationary factor going forward. These amounts include funds to create a fleet replacement reserve and to reimburse the general fund for operating costs related to actual use of the general fund fleet.
Solid waste has been billed out at $13.50 per quarter since 1991. A review of the solid waste collection operation is expected to occur in 2014. The financial plan has included increases of $0.90 per quarter each year going forward and will be updated.
What this means for utility bills is that in 2014, tax payers will be billed $161.60 quarterly for a total of $645.60. In 2015, quarterly payments will rise to $186.45 for a yearly total of $745.80. By 2018, fees will be $200.25 for $801.
The additional parcel tax will not be included in the utility bills but as part of the yearly property tax bills.