Water rate increases on the horizon

Water rate increase
Photo credit: Stock photo.
Posted on: September 25, 2019

At Carleton Place’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept 24, town treasurer, Trisa McConkey brought forward next year’s water and sewer budget which is slated to see a 5% rate increase.  With the input of physical environment director Dave Young, McConkey reviewed infrastructure tender bids and came to the conclusion that a rate increase beyond the consumer price index (CPI) was needed due to escalating construction costs.  As an example, she quoted a public tender that was put out earlier this year for the Bridge St pumping station that received bids which exceed the project’s budget by over 250%.  That work was delayed to attempt to receive lower bids in a retendering process later this fall.  The construction price index for the Ottawa area has been outpacing the CPI by more than double, McConkey’s review revealed.

With the pressures of over $20M in non-growth related projects over the next 10 years; McConkey stated that the sewer/water reserve fund would be in a $1.77M deficit by 2023 without action.  The 5% increase would gradually reduce that negative to a positive fund position by 2028.  Deputy Mayor Sean Redmond was quick to ask for clarification from McConkey that the rate increase pressure was strictly due to construction price increases rather than daily operations.  She concurred.  Knowing how certain infrastructure work costs can balloon if required upgrades aren’t completed in a timely manner, Redmond remarked, “it’s a little bit now instead of a lot later.”

The proposed increase and other budget details, which will go forward to the next committee meeting on Oct 8th, as well as being posted on the town’s website, will mean a $44.52 hike per year for a residential property with 1 or 2 residents for a total of $935.68.  If approved, property owners would see the new rates in their first bill of 2020.  

Article by Brian Turner