Kimberley City Council has begun budget deliberations and one of the big questions is how to fund the new waste water treatment plant, which is expected to be built in the next few years. City of Kimberley file

Kimberley Council discusses type of tax that could be used to fund waste water treatment plant replacement

Possiblity of a $150 per year parcel tax

Kimberley needs a new waste water treatment plant. Residents, city staff and council have known this for quite some time.

At an estimated cost of $62.5 million, which will only rise the longer it takes to get started, it will likely be the largest project the city has ever funded.

Although there is some uncertainty over when the next federal funding window will open, Kimberley Chief Financial Officer Jim Hendricks is including the project in the preliminary budget planning for the next financial plan.

The current financial plan has the facility being constructed in 2023, and even if it gets pushed down the road a year or two, much has to happen in order for it all to fall into place.

It is currently anticipated that the city would likely get 73.33 per cent of the full cost funded through the federal and provincial governments, leaving the city to pay 26.67 per cent of the total cost. A large borrow like that will have to be approved by electors, and the hope is to get the question in front of Kimberley voters at next fall’s municipal election.

Hendricks says that one of the methods to pay back that debt could be through a parcel tax of $150 per parcel, which would generate approximately $700,000 per year. Payments for the new plant are estimated to be $895,000 per year for 30 years. However, Hendricks notes that changes to the numbers are inevitable given the scale of the project, constantly changing construction costs and uncertainty of grant funding.

Council had a bit of discussion about the use of a parcel tax. Coun. Kent Goodwin questioned if it was the way to go. There was also some question as to why the decision had to be made so soon. City CAO Scott Sommerville said not having the method of repayment figured out could be a black mark on your grant application.

“It’s important to have funding sources lined up before you apply,” he said. And as soon as a grant became available an application would be sent, he said. However, in a minority government situation, the grant windows were not as predictable, he said.

Hendricks did not ask Council for a resolution on what type of tax would be used to pay for the plant at this time. Much discussion is still to be had, he said, when the capital budget comes forward later in the process.

READ: City of Kimberley discusses plans for wastewater treatment plant

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