New fees for Trail area ratepayers

Along with a new year comes the inevitable utility bill and at least one rate increase.

Local councils are readying to set utility rates for 2017 including user fees for water

Along with a new year comes the inevitable utility bill and at least one rate increase. City of Trail service users will see a nominal increase of $1.25 per month for water, sewer and garbage collection. The consolidated bill amounts to $741.70 compared to $727 in 2016.

For those paying on or before the Feb. 28 discount date, the rate drops 7.4 per cent, reducing the annual invoice by $55.10 or $686.60.

Trail council endorsed the changes during the Nov. 28 governance meeting, gave the bylaw three readings later at regular council and will adopt the new rates at the Dec. 19 meeting.

Another amended bylaw, this one called the Waneta Junction Parcel Tax Bylaw, will have respective residents seeing a decrease in their utility bill after council agreed to reduce the parcel tax by $52.

The Waneta Junction Local Service Area and Parcel Tax Bylaw were established in 2000 when the Waneta Junction area was incorporated into Trail boundaries. At the time, the city borrowed $750,000 (to be repaid over 25 years) for significant improvements to the water system, and implemented a parcel tax to offset the debt payments.Overtime the parcel tax dropped from $363 to $212 in 2011 and in the new year, $160.

Two other municipalities also have next year’s utility rate structure in place.

Warfield property owners will see a slight increase, $15, when they open January’s utility bill, excluding their sewer utility. The 2017 water service fee is $421, or $382 before Feb. 28, and garbage collection $141 compared to $137 in 2016. Last year, village council set a parcel tax for sewer users at $413 and $68.21 for each additional apartment suite or unit. The latter has been increased $115 in the new year, landlords will be subject to the flat tax as well as $186.13 for each additional unit.

A five per cent increase is set for sewer and water ratepayers in Montrose. That amounts to a total increase of $32.00 annually or $28.80 if paid before Feb. 28. The draft bylaw was given three readings at Nov. 21 council and adopted Monday night. Montrose council reviewed its solid waste collection and disposal service last fall weighing village rates against increased tipping fees at the McKelvey Creek Landfill. Rather than reduce service levels to biweekly curbside pickup, council opted to increase garbage bag user fees $1 or $3.50 per bag to cover annual costs of the service.

Garbage and sewer rates will be considered by Fruitvale council in early January, and invoiced in mid-February, along with the Beaver Valley water fees. A five per cent discount is provided if payment is received by March 31. The due date is actually October 31, with a 10 per cent penalty applied to any amount outstanding on Nov. 1. Outstanding utilities are transferred to taxes as arrears if unpaid at year end.

Rossland council began its utility review process in the fall, and has already adopted bylaws related to 2017 through to 2019, confirmed Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Teasdale.

User Rates for both water (#2622) and sewer (#2623) that show an approximate average increase of 4.5 per cent annually over the next three years, he said.

Garbage was also reviewed but will remain unchanged.

“The city had provisions for a 4.5 per cent increase in user fee rates for each of the next few years as per the approved 2016-2020 Financial Plan,” Teasdale clarified. “During initial 2017 Draft Budget deliberations in September, council further suggested that a 3 per cent increase be applied to the base rate with the balance of the increase (1.5 per cent) proposed in the Financial Plan be applied to the consumption rates (price per m3, which is paid on top of the base rate).”

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