In their budget deliberation meeting last week, Kimberley City Council approved a recommendation from CFO Jim Hendricks that water utility fees remain the same for the next year. Fees will be $477.12 for the year.
Sewer utility fees, however, will rise by eight per cent, bringing them to $409.82 in 2021.
It is city policy to fund services on a user-pay basis when feasible, in order to recover as much of the cost of the respective services as practical.
Revenue from water and sewer utility fees is used to fund operating and capital expenses, and to build up reserves within those funds.
Looming over the sewer fund is the coming replacement of the waste water treatment plant, which is now estimated to cost $62.57 million. It is hoped that the city can fund 90 per cent of that through grants. Changes to sewer fees in the coming years will depend on the level of grant funding received.
The $62.57 million estimate does not include costs to undertake:
– decommissioning of the old Pollution Control Centre;
– construction of an outflow diffuser; or
– some of the off-site infrastructure upgrades that will be required (e.g. access road to the new facility).
The eight per cent increase will help build a reserve for borrowing for the new waste water treatment plant, Mayor Don McCormick said.