Flushing just got a little more expensive.
Effective as of Feb. 1, Cold Lake residents will be seeing an additional cost to their sewer rates, after council voted unanimously to increase them to 60 per cent of water consumption.
“During budget deliberations, we talked about trying to bring all of the utility fees up to 100 per cent operating cost recovery. Sewer rates were well below where we needed to be,” explained Mayor Craig Copeland.
Prior to their decision to increase the rates, the city was charging residents 50 per cent of their water consumption for their sewer rates. Industry standards for these rates vary from 70 to 80 per cent of the residential water consumption.
This jump is the first scheduled for council. In 2019, they're considering a second increase to 70 per cent of water rates, resulting in full cost recovery.
“We had a major break on the sewer line to our lagoons. We experienced some significant expenses this past year, but just operating the system we're short. That's why we had to bring the sewer rates up,” Copeland said. “It was one that was obvious to council. On this budget year, we didn't have the flexibility of the air weapons range money to allow us to absorb some of the cushion. We're having to go to the ratepayers now to ask them to help.”
Those paying a flat rate for their water will see an jump of $6.82 monthly on their sewer bill. Families on a metered water rate will see 92-cents per thousand gallons of water, which according to the city, equates to about a $4.14 per month increase to their sewer rates for the average user of 4,500-gallons during that time frame.
The average household will see an increase in not only these sewer rates, but also their organics.
Residents will see an added fee of $1.50 for their organics waste under the collection services and rates fees.
“We have raised utility rates, whether it's garbage or recycle, or water. We review it each year,” Copeland noted. “This year, we went after the sewer rates, leaving water the same. The wet waste is going up a little bit too.”