Kimberley City Council has given first, second and third readings to several bylaws this week. One of them is the Waterworks Rates and Regulations bylaw, which, if adopted, will see bulk water rates going up by 10 per cent in 2020.
Chief Financial Officer Jim Hendricks explained at a regular Council meeting on Monday that the potential change to the water rates bylaw will increase the current bulk water rate by 10 per cent from $1.56 to $1.72 per 1,000 gallons effective January 1.
It will also establish a separate rate for secondary suites at a level that is 50 per cent of the rate for a single family dwelling.
“In addition to the flat rate utility fees that vary based on customer type the current water rates bylaw also establishes a metered rate for bulk water users,” Hendricks wrote in his report to Council. “Through analysis undertaken by the City’s contract engineers it has been determined that this rate is disproportionately low in comparison to the estimated cost of providing water to the end user.”
Councillor Darryl Oakley asked how long it would take for a break even point when it comes to earning back that money on water rates.
Hendricks explained that at a 10 per cent increase per year, it would take eight years to reach a break even point.
“We’ve got a long way to go to get to that point,” said Oakley. “So it’s important to let people know.”
Mayor Don McCormick says that no increases were taken for 11 years, prior to 2018. He adds that home based businesses will benefit from the decrease to fees for secondary suits.
“Home-based businesses sometimes operate out of those suites, so I think that’s one group that will really welcome those changes,” he said.
Hendricks explained that the City will continue to review the bylaw every year as part of their budget planning process. The proposed increase will also help to increase revenue for the City, he says.
“The increase of the bulk water rate by 10 per cent to $1.72 per 1,000 gallons is anticipated to result in an estimated additional Water Fund revenue of approximately $5,000 per year commencing in 2020,” he said.