Trail ratepayers can save$67.46 if paid in full. Photo: Unsplash

Trail ratepayers can save$67.46 if paid in full. Photo: Unsplash

Trail utility rates top $800 – with discount

Bylaws up for 3 readings Monday night with adoption planned for later this week

A new year means new levies are coming for utility ratepayers in the City of Trail.

The annual residential bill for water, sewer, and garbage services will exceed $800 this year — $803.54 to be exact — and that’s with a discount if paid in full by Feb. 28.

Without discount?

The Trail ratepayer will have to cough up $871 in payments over the next 12 months, or $54.50 more than last year.

Looking at the individual rate increases for 2023; 2.8 per cent for garbage pick up ($147 compared to $143 in 2022), and five percent more for sewer ($286 compared to $272 in 2022); it’s the water service increase of 8.5 per cent that accounts for most of the hike ($438 compared to $401.50 in 2022).

Colin McClure, chief administrator for Trail, explains that city council reviewed utility budgets during a governance meeting last month, and set rates for the new year.

During that session, council was informed that public works staff dealt with a number of significant and costly water main breaks over the past 12 months. He mentioned the line break behind Butler Park and Second Avenue that shut down the aquatic centre for a few days in October, and a line failure between Birch and Green Avenues earlier in the year, as examples of aging infrastructure that needed to be addressed.

In conjunction with the proposed 2023 rates for water and sewer, McClure also presented council with the proposed operating and capital plan until 2030 and beyond.

“In reviewing the 15-year budgeted forecast it became very apparent that, in the water fund particularly, there is insufficient funding to sustain covering the operational cost in addition to addressing the infrastructure deficit that requires a substantial amount of capital work in the future,” McClure said.

“Staff committed to review funding options and with the help of an updated water master plan, come back to council for the 2024 budget year with a more detailed and defined forecast for their review and direction.”

On the slate for Monday night’s council meeting (Jan. 9), were three readings for the 2023 utility rates, with adoption planned for later this week.

Once utility rates bylaws are adopted by council — one bylaw for garbage and another bylaw for water/sewer — invoices with the new rates will be sent out in mid to late January.

If paid in full by the early discount deadline on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Trail ratepayer will save $67.46.

If utility bills are not paid by the discount date, there is no interest or penalties added and ratepayers have until the end of the year to make full payment.

If utilities are unpaid after Dec. 31 in the year they are levied, the amount owing is transferred to property taxes in arrears and is subject to interest at a rate prescribed by the province.

Notably, the annual utility bill doesn’t include a $150 residential water parcel tax, which is charged to each residential property to offset capital expenses. That $150 flat tax is included on the annual property tax bill due around July 1. It was implemented years ago with construction of the water treatment plant and has remained unchanged ever since.

Major utility capital projects proposed for 2023 include: Groutage Avenue water and sewer line replacement; a two kilometre section of sewer main to be relined by a contractor (trenchless); a synergy project involving sewer and water line replacement on the 2300 block of Daniel Street, to be completed with the Daniel Street retaining wall project; and a waterline replacement planned for the 1200 block of Dewdney Avenue.

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