Kimberley City Council approves bylaws surrounding utility rates

Kimberley City Council approves bylaws surrounding utility rates

There will be an increase to water and sewer rates and a decrease to garbage rates.

Kimberley City Council has approved three separate bylaws, changing the rates surrounding water, sewer and garbage in the City. These changes will be effective as of January 1, 2018.

At a regular City Council Meeting on Monday, Dec. 11 Council voted on the three separate bylaws, and Chief Financial Officer, Jim Hendricks says the City will revisit them again each year for the five year financial plan as they move forward.

The passing of these bylaws means that water rates will increase two per cent for flat rate users and 20 per cent for bulk users, such as the ski-hill, golf courses and Teck.

Hendricks says that the two per cent increase is in keeping with the municipal price index that the City has been sticking to for property tax increases. The increase will go towards funding increases to operating costs and to reserve contributions to fund capital infrastructure upgrades.

Councillor Darryl Oakley says he would have liked to see bulk user rates up more than 20 per cent, while Mayor Don McCormick says he thinks 20 per cent is “way too high”.

Sewer rates will increase by five per cent, which Hendricks says is in an effort to help fund the proposed Wastewater Treatment Facility.

“We have the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility budgeted in 2020. We’re anticipating 83 per cent grant funding for that [but] we’ll have to foot the bill for the remaining 17 per cent, which is $5.4 million and change. Along with that comes a dead obligation of about $365,000 per year. We’re bringing the sewer user fees up for the five year plan so we’ve got enough to fund that debt repayment. After 2022 it will drop back down to the two per cent, is what we anticipate,” Hendricks said.

Garbage rates will decrease by ten per cent in order to offset the increase in sewer and water rates.

“There were some changes made to the garbage collection regime last year that resulted in some wage savings and some fuel savings,” Hendricks said. “We’re able to reduce the fees and still contribute to a reserve that will allow us to replace the [garbage] truck in ten years. We’re expecting delivery of the new truck early in 2018, which again is going to change the regime a bit. We’re going to be using different cans, so we’ll be revisiting the garbage rates again in 2018 and possibly will be able to reduce them further at that point.”