Water and sewer rate hikes proposed for next four years
Winnipeg homeowner Meaghan Spenchuk's last quarterly water bill was so memorable, she remembers how much it was right down to the dollar.
"We paid $336 dollars for our last bill," said Spenchuk
When asked what she thinks about paying that mucch, she said it's already expensive, and wouldn't want to see it increase.
But, it likely will be going up.
The City of Winnipeg has released a report on proposed water and sewer rate hikes for the next four years.
It says a typical customer will pay:
- $33 (3%) in 2020;
- $35 (3%) in 2021;
- $34 (2.8%) in 2022; and
- $34 (2.8%) in 2023.
The city’s water and waste chair, Councillor Cindy Gilroy, said she’ll be voting in favor of the increases.
"I'll be supporting the rate hikes. Last year we didn't increase our rates, this year we are going to increase our rates. We'll still be among the lowest in Canada,"she said.
The report said the main driver of the rates are billions of dollars-worth of upgrades for waste water projects including the North End Water Pollution Control Centre.
“We have to do these projects regardless and I'm really hoping that the federal and provincial governments will come on board to help us achieve this goal," said Gilroy.
The report said if the other levels of government don't come on board, current and future rate hikes would increase more, including $165 dollars or 11.3 per cent in after ten years.
A provincial spokesperson said the province wants to work with the city on the upgrades, but in a statement said:
“It is unfortunate the city continues to put false narratives on the record regarding future provincial funding. We have said from the onset that we are committed to being a partner in this vital project to ensure the health and sustainability of our water bodies. Cost estimates continue to escalate and have more than doubled. It would not be appropriate to commit to funding for the project without knowing the full scope of it."
As for the current recommended rates, Spenchuk said she can live with it.
"Well I spend that much at Starbucks, you know what I'm saying. So I mean for water, I guess that's not outrageous," she said.
The city’s Water and Waste Committee will vote on the increases next week. City Council will have the final say.