Fee increases in future for Nakusp residents

·2 min read

By the time you read this, the fees for some services from the Village of Nakusp will likely be increased. Council approved a new rate schedule for civic services at its January 11 meeting, and was expected to ratify them at its January 25 meeting.

Some of the changes are as follows.

The Winter Wednesday discount at the Hot Springs will no longer apply to tourists, just locals. “Many tourists show up expecting to pay full price and end up receiving the discount,” staff note.

While waste fees were “right where they needed to be to cover the cost of collection” last year, that cost is going up, staff warned. Expenses are anticipated to increase by about 6.5% in 2021. To cover the increase, staff proposed increasing the cost of Village bags from $3 to $3.25 and non-residential receptacles from $21 per cubic metre to $22.50 per cubic metre.

It’s going to cost more to connect to the Village sewer system, as staff warned that connection fees are substantially underpriced for the cost.

“Typically, a straightforward connection will cost approximately $2,300,” the report says. Currently the new connection fee is the greater of $1,385 and actual cost. Staff recommended amending the new connection fees to the greater of $2,300 and actual cost.

Staff also recommends increasing sewer rates. An infrastructure report found that the Village needed to put more into its infrastructure reserve to cover capital replacement costs over the next 30 years.

“While we understand 2020 was a difficult year financially for many, staff recommends increasing sewer rates at least 5% for 2021 ($22.61 for a single-family dwelling) to avoid falling farther behind in our capital replacement plan.”

Water rates are also going to see some hikes if council accepts staff recommendations. The report says the base fee for a new connection doesn’t cover actual costs.

“Currently the new connection fee is the greater of $1,320 and actual cost. Staff recommends amending the new connection fees to the greater of $2,000 and actual cost,” the report says. With a new well in the works and expanded service, staff warn the Village needs to replenish its reserves to avoid rate shocks in the future when infrastructure needs replacement.

“Rather than increasing rates by 10% in five years to make up for these changes, staff’s recommendation is to smooth it out with 2% annual increases,” council was told.

This would result in an increase of $8.54 in 2021 for a single-family dwelling.

Council needs to adopt the new fee structures by February 8 to have it ready for the first billing period of 2021.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice