The municipality of Summerland will host a virtual utility budgets open house on Wednesday, Dec. 6 starting at 5 p.m.
The session will be around one hour in length and feature an open question-and-answer period at the end. There is no need to pre-register.
To participate, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87120828798?pwd=eGZXSWY0b2lhY3Y4eXdNWTBHZUFmZz09. The meeting identification is 871 2082 8798 and the passcode is: 998235.
The municipality has passed a resolution to set its utility rates for 2024. Under the resolution, a typical single- family home would see annual utility increases of $113.40.
Electrical rates will increase by three per cent, water rates will increase by 6.78 per cent and sewer rates will remain unchanged. The monthly increase will be $9.45, which works out to $113.40 a year.
“Council is required each year to adopt balanced budgets and with these rate increases our three utilities remain in good shape and we can continue to provide these essential services into the future,” said Summerland mayor Doug Holmes. “With the billing changes we implemented last year, we have been able to absorb much of the 6.74 per cent FortisBC electric increase. In the water utility, the driving factor for the rate increases continues to be the escalating cost of water treatment.”
According to figures from the municipality, typical household electrical bills will increase from $142.62 to $146.90 a month, or $51.36 a year. Water bills for a typical house will increase from $76.26 a month to $81.43 a month or $62.04 a year and sewer costs for a typical home will remain unchanged at $36.72 a month.
Sewer rates will be unchanged as the municipality will maintain the parcel tax that was dedicated for the financing of the sewer treatment plant. As this debt is retired in 2023, council determined that a modernized billing model for sewer use and rates should be explored instead of adjustments being arbitrarily imposed in the 2024 year.
A short-term extension of the parcel tax is being considered to afford the time to provide options and advice for council’s deliberation.