A wastewater rate hike of 3.8% annually will be seen in Penetanguishene residential bills starting in 2022.
The committee of the whole recently approved water and wastewater rates for 2022, and while the minimum water flat fee and consumption rate will remain unchanged, minimum wastewater flat fee and wastewater consumption rate will both be getting an increase.
“I would note that there is no increase in reference to actual water, but there is certainly an increase in (the sewage part of the bills),” said Deputy Mayor Anita Dubeau during the meeting.
Water and wastewater tax increases for the town are part of a ten-year financial plan and rate study update that was completed in 2018.
Minimum wastewater flat fees in 2021 were $190.32 per year and town staff recommended the increase to $201.74; a difference of $11.42 annually. The variable wastewater consumption rate for last year was $2.63 per cubic metre, and staff recommended a $0.16 increase to $2.79 per cubic metre for 2022.
Overall, an average residential customer in 2021 using 200 cubic metres as an example was calculated to pay $1,124.68 per year; that same customer in 2022 using the same amount would be $1,167.66 annually, or, a 3.8% annual increase at a $42.98 difference.
Water/wastewater rates are one of two primary sources to finance capital replacement for the town, with debt being the other.
According to the utility rates bylaw update report presented to council, the town’s only debt related to water is a portion of the Main Street reconstruction debenture, with a relatively healthy reserve balance for water capital replacement in the water division.
Sewage treatment plant expansion and the Main Street reconstruction were the causes of debt to the wastewater reserve, which is in a negative balance.
As scheduled in the financial plan and rate study update, water rates would remain the same in 2022, with a 1% annual rate increase from 2023 to 2028. Wastewater would see a 6% increase for 2022, and 4% annually for the remaining years of the forecast. Overall utility rate increases for typical residential properties average 3.6% to 3.8% annually in the first four years, and a 3% increase annually after that.
A bylaw to amend the utility rates will be presented to Penetanguishene council in December.
Further information will become available through the Connect Penetanguishene portal on the town website.
The Utility Rates By-law Update Report can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.
Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca