Kamloops council is expected to finalize a sewer rate increase on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Sewer rates are slated to rise by seven per cent in 2020, equating to about $29 extra for the average-assessed property.
City utility services manager Greg Wightman said the city is working toward a five- to 10-year capital plan without having to borrow. In the past, the city has borrowed for projects like the sewage-treatment plant. The boost to sewer rates will help to build up reserves for projects such as a large, multi-million-dollar project on Tranquille Road. The next phase in replacing the sewer line in that area will begin next year.
Solid waste and water rates, meanwhile, are not anticipated to see an increase next year. Wightman said the city’s water rates continue to benefit from a drop in water usage, as a result of the city installing water meters in 2012.
Last year, the city’s sewer rates increased by 15 per cent, about $54 for the average-assessed home, as a result of increasing costs to manage biosolids (treated sewage sludge). The city is currently working to find a long-term solution to managing its sewage sludge.
The city had planned to deliver its sewage sludge to a bison farm in Turtle Valley, near Chase. However, following protests there this past summer, the city’s contractor, Arrow Transportation, has yet to ship any of the city’s sewage sludge to that area and is seeking alternative projects, Wightman said.
At its regular council meeting on Tuesday, council will vote on whether to adopt the sewer amendment bylaw to change the rates.
At a November budget meeting, council unanimously approved a motion to draft the bylaw.
In addition to the expected sewer rate hike, council is eyeing a tentative 2.76 per cent property tax hike for 2020, while the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and hospital district area are also seeking tax increases.