Toronto water rate could be hiked 5 per cent

The average annual water bill will be close to $1,000 next year, if the city sticks with a plan to hike water rates by five per cent.

Toronto's budget committee meets Friday afternoon to review staff recommendations about how much to hike fees for water, garbage and parking. While staff recommendations haven't been made public yet, the plan is to increase the water rate once again.

Toronto water staff's presentation on the changes, not yet made public, banks on household water rates continuing to decline as they have been in recent years. If that happens, the projected average annual household water bill will be $989 in 2018.

Budget chief Gary Crawford says he knows some will be upset with the pocketbook pinch, but he says Torontonians should know that the money's being well spent on maintaining crucial water infrastructure.

"I don't think there's a street or a ward in the city that you don't see major work replacing watermains," he told CBC Toronto.

That work has been especially crucial this summer after the city was pummelled by a series of rainstorms that resulted in flooding in many parts of the city. However, Crawford says he doesn't anticipate a proposed stormwater fee that was axed by council to factor into this debate.

Industrial users should pay more, councillor says

Coun. Mike Layton, meanwhile, vowed to try again to get the city to charge industrial water users more for dumping their waste into the sewage system.

"We're only charging them for a little of it, we need to charge them for all of it," he said.

"Because it shouldn't be on the rest of us to pay."

Layton's motions on this matter have failed for the past seven years, something he attributes to lobbying efforts on the other side.

"There's a lot of evidence that we should be doing this," he said.

Crawford said if the city approves a five per cent increase for 2018, it could go down to a three per cent hike the following year.

Crawford says he expects garbage and parking rate hikes to be lower, likely around two per cent.

City staff will make their recommendations public Friday afternoon. The goal is to approve the new rates by the end of the year.