City crews were busy tackling main construction in the 900 block of Vernon Street last March.

Nelson utility rate increase less than expected

Water rates will go up 4% and sewer up 3% in 2014.

Nelson water and sewer rates will increase in 2014, but not as much as originally expected.

According to projections in the city’s long-term operating and capital plan for the utilities, water and sewer rates were each expected to increase five per cent next year.

Instead water will go up four per cent and sewer will be three per cent more than the previous year.

The actual amount residents will pay on their utility bill in 2014 is $933.30, an increase of $31.50 ($18.90 for water and $12.60 for sewer).  Rates for commercial/industrial properties will increase based on the same percentages.

At Monday’s council meeting, Nelson’s chief financial officer Colin McClure explained the required increase is less than expected due to savings on waterline and sewer replacement costs.

The city was able to keep costs down for the upgrades by creating its own capital crew to do the work, rather than contracting out the replacement work.

The city would have paid around $1,000 per metre of waterline it replaced had the work been done by a contractor. Instead the work is costing an average of $828.

For the sewer upgrades, the projected cost was $525 per metre, but the actual cost came in at an average of $206.

The city is replacing an average of 1,800 metres of waterline and 2,500 metres of sewer line per year with new pipes that are expected to last 85 years.

In 2012 and 2013, water rates increased six per cent per year and sewage rates went up five per cent per year.

“It’s really a good news story that we’ve been able to do these important infrastructure upgrades for less than expected and pass those savings onto the ratepayer,” McClure said.

Council passed the first two readings of a bylaw to adopt the proposed rate increases and has set time aside during the public participation period at its December 16 committee of the whole meeting to hear from residents who have concerns about the change.

 

Metered water users get a break

A plan to double the pay-per-use rate paid by public institutions and businesses with water metres has been temporarily put on hold.

There are only four Nelson properties currently on water metres — Nelson Car Wash, Selkirk College, Kootenay Lake Hospital and the Regional District of Central Kootenay building.

Last year council increased water rates for those users by 20 cents per cubic metre on top of the percentage increase seen by all other water users.

The plan was to do the same for the next two years so that by 2015 the metred rate would be twice as much as it was in 2012.

At the time, city staff argued the metered rate was disproportionately low when compared to the amount paid by non-metered commercial/industrial users whose rates are determined by the number of fixtures (sinks, toilets, washing machines, etc.) in the building.

The city had planned to switch over more businesses to water metres this year,  to find out the exact amount of water used and determine if the formula for determining water rates is fair. But that project has been pushed back to 2014.

At a meeting Monday, council agreed that until that data on water use is available, they couldn’t justify further increases to the metered rates, on top of the city-wide increase.

As a result, the metered rate will only increase four per cent in 2013.

The 20 cent increase on the metered rate would have added $20,000 to the city’s water utility budget.

Just Posted

Teck will continue to fight U.S. judgement

U.S. Supreme Court denied hearing Teck’s appeal last week

Car rolls into Cottonwood Creek

No one was injured in the Tuesday evening incident

Greens choose Rosslander to represent them in next federal election

Tara Howse is the former chair of Rossland’s Sustainability Commission

Commercial truck caught dumping waste into river near Trail

Greater Trail RCMP report the company owner has been identified

New residential building under construction at Kerr site

Ground has broken on a four-storey, 44-unit mixed use building

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read