(Pixabay.com)

(Pixabay.com)

Summerland utility rates to increase

Water rates to rise by five per cent, sewer by 3.5 per cent and electrical by 4.4 per cent

Utility rates in Summerland are about to increase.

At the municipal council meeting on Dec. 9, council gave first three readings to bylaws to raise water, sewer and electrical rates in the community.

Under the bylaws, water rates will rise by five per cent, sewer rates will increase by 3.5 per cent and electrical rates will increase by 4.4 per cent.

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The increases mean property owners can expect to pay an average of $147.31 more for their utilities next year, assuming their consumption remains unchanged.

Water rates are expected to account for $37.63 of the increase. Sewer rates are expected to rise by $13.81. Electrical rates are expected to increase by $95.87 a year.

The residential rate changes also include the removal of the residential tiered billing system, which will be harmonized into one rate effective Jan. 1, 2020.

In a report to council, David Svetlichny, director of finance for the municipality, said it is importance to increase the community’s capital reserves.

The reserve levels for Dec. 31, 2019 are estimated at $6.8 million, but the replacement cost of all utility infrastructure is $364.6 million.

“Although strides have been made over the years to increase utility reserves, significant investment is still needed in order to support the long-term needs of the community,” he said.

While water and sewer budgets did not require operational increases, Summerland’s electrical utility required a 0.9 per cent operational increase, since Fortis is increasing its rates by one per cent.

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