As expected, council approves tax hikes for water, garbage collection
Homeowners in the Tournament Capital will be paying more for water and garbage collection in the new year.
City council did the expected on Tuesday, Dec. 6, unanimously approving rate hikes for three utilities.
Council approved an increase in water- and sewer-utility rates by five per cent and curbside and commercial-garbage collection rates by five and 10 per cent respectively.
The new the rates take effect on Jan. 1.
The water- and sewer-rate increases work out to about an extra $26 for water service and an extra $12 for sewer service annually for a typical single-family dwelling.
According to a staff report, there are several reasons behind the sewer-rate increase recommendation, including an expected large jump in fuel and hydro costs next year, inflationary increases for services and labour, increased capital expenditures and a plan to maintain a fund-reserve balance equivalent to 25 per cent of annual revenues.
The utilities five-year operating budget is calling for a similar five per cent increase for the next four years and a two per cent jump in the final year.
The city has $11.3 million in reserve funds for the sewer and water utility.
The report also noted the increase would have been 14 per cent if the universal water-metering program had not been implemented.
As for garbage collection, the average homeowner who uses a 245-litre cart will see a $5.50 increase in fees.
The fee increase is required due to increased fuel costs, vehicle maintenance and landfill-disposal fees.
In 2012, the city is expecting to spend $220,000 extra for monthly vehicle expenses related to fuel, $173,000 more for landfill tipping fees and $150,000 more for labour costs.
Under the new fee scheme, homeowners will pay $119 for collection of a 254-litre cart, compared with Prince George and Kelowna, where residents pay $169 and $188 respectively.