City of Trail utility rates climb

New Year’s Day ushered in 2013, but it also marked a jump in utility rates in Trail.

New Year’s Day ushered in 2013, but it  also marked a jump in utility rates in Trail.

City council approved hiking the rates for the new year for garbage collection and water and sewer, adding up to a total $16.10 increase for the 2013 year.

The total utility bill for a Trail resident will increase to $669.10 for the year, a rise from the $653 in 2012—and works out to an increase of $1.34 per month.

The increase could be minimized for Trail residents, however, by paying the utility bill early. There’s a 7.5 per cent discount for paying before the end of February. That would lower the total bill to $619, a $50 difference in the total utility bill.

“By taking an incremental and long term approach we are protecting ratepayers against significant increases in any one year,” said councillor Kevin Jolly, who chairs the general government and finance committee.

The cost for garbage collection and disposal is going up about four per cent, while residential water service is increasing two per cent, or about $6. Sewer service costs to taxpayers will increase 2.3 per cent, or nearly $6.

The annual lump sum to be paid for garbage and waste after Feb. 28 will be $110 per individual dwelling unit per year, with an early bird discount of $8 at $102 before Feb. 28.

“It is noted that the garbage fee is self funding and the fees totally cover the costs of providing the service,” said Jolly.

Council remains committed to enhancing investment on infrastructure, said Jolly, and the water budget reflected a 3.36 per cent increase in capital expenditures for the year. For sewer, the budget was calling for a 2.5 per cent increase.

“The increase is slightly higher than water, due to the fact the overall user fee collection is lower and the revenue generation capacity is lower as well,” said Jolly.

Capital funding in the sewer funding has been increased by three per cent to reflect the need to replace and repair the aging infrastructure.

New hire

The city has hired a new communications and events coordinator.

As of today Andrea Jolly (no relation to councillor Kevin Jolly) will take over the role of keeping the citizens of Trail informed of what is happening and going on in the city.

“Andrea comes to the city with a diverse background and skill set in marketing, communications from Teck Resources Ltd.,” said Kevin Jolly.

She was a marketing and communications coordinator with the business development group at Teck. As well, Andrea served as the marketing coordinator with B.C. Ferries, and also has other experience in the private sector with marketing and communications.

Her focus will be on enhancing communications activities the city has with the public on a daily basis. In addition, Andrea will fill a significant void in the area of events coordination and will directly coordinate city-sponsored events.

“She will also be a community asset as far as being a secondary resource for other events in the city where there is a public benefit,” said Kevin.

Andrea will also be handling the city’s Facebook site as well as its webpage.

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