Thursday, December 15, 2016

Water rates to climb

By Kate Bouey - CASTANET Dec 15, 2016 / 3:08 pm |
Greater Vernon Water rates will be going up 3.7 per cent each year for the next three years. The plan got approval Thursday from members of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee. Vernon director Bob Spiers was opposed, believing rates for water consumption should be based on the budget needed for that year to meet the operating costs of the water utility. “A 3.7 per cent increase across the board for rates would not acknowledge the new customers each year that are added to the system that would bring added revenue to the water function,” Spiers said. “The base fee for each new customer is $95 per quarter ($380 annually) plus revenue from their consumption. “The three year rate increase should be based on the budgeted operating costs over the next three years only, not an across the board hike.” Spiers said the money will just build up reserves and ultimately be used for capital projects, such as filtration at Mission Hill, so the amount of borrowing will be reduced in an effort to persuade the public to okay the project in a borrowing referendum. “All major capital projects should be financed only through grants and/or borrowing so the people who benefit over the next 20 years are the ones who will still be using the water system. “My money is being built up in the reserves and if it is used for large capital works projects then I hope to get a thank you if I move or pass on in the next 20 years.”

GVAC's recommendation will be presented to the North Okanagan Regional District board for approval. It reads: that it be recommended to the Board of Directors that the Greater Vernon Water Rates be increased annually over the next three years based on 1.7 per cent CPI and two per cent to meet the O&M and Capital Improvements resulting in an overall annual increase of 3.7 per cent in the GVW budget.

No comments: