Summerland sends mock water bills

As municipal staff and council continue to examine residential water billing methods, the latest set of mock bills have been sent out.

As municipal staff and council continue to examine residential water billing methods, the latest set of mock bills have been sent out.

The latest billing model, which has been revised since the last open house on billing in spring, begins with a base fee of $24 for the water service, followed by billing for all water used.

The cubic metre charge will change, depending on the amount used.

The lowest billing rate, at 26 cents a cubic metre, allows up to 25 cubic metres at that rate during the cooler months, but rising during the growing season.

The allotment begins to increase in mid-April and the largest amounts are for water used from June 16 to July 15 and from July 16 to Aug. 15.

“We’re trying to make changes for the better and we’re listening to the community,” said municipal administrator Tom Day.

The changes following the last open house allow more water at the low rate during the growing season.

Council and municipal staff have been examining billing rates for at least the last two years as the community moves from a flat fee for water to a metered system.

Day said the time is needed because of the nature of Summerland’s water system.

“The water system in Summerland has historically been complex,” he said.

Those who use more than the lower priced amount will be charged $1 a cubic metre for all water above the low rate allotment.

Council hopes to have the billing system in place by the beginning of 2014, by Mayor Janice Perrino said the metering system of billing will not be introduced until council is satisfied with the structure.

“We are hoping to start by Jan. 1, but if it doesn’t look right, we won’t,” she said.

Once the residential system has been determined, council and municipal staff will move on to the billing structure for agricultural properties.