The cost of utilities in Summerland is expected to increase in 2022.
At the Summerland council meeting on Dec. 13, the municipality gave first three readings to amend utility rates. Under the changes, water rates will increase by five per cent, sewer rates will rise by 4.21 per cent and electrical rates will rise by 2.51 per cent.
The sewer rate increase has 3.5 per cent included as an asset management reserve contribution and 0.71 per cent as an operational increase.
The electrical rate increase includes 1.75 per cent as an asset management reserve contribution and 0.76 per cent as an operational increase.
For a typical home in Summerland, the combined effect of the increases is estimated at $101.15 a year. The water rate increase will add an estimated $41.43 a year, the sewer rate increase will add $17.80 a year and the electrical rate increase will add an estimated $41.92 a year.
The increase is a little less than the 2021 utility rate increases in Summerland, and significantly lower than the combined increase for 2020.
In a report to council, David Svetlichny, Summerland’s director of finance, said in past years, Summerland’s reserve funds were minimal. The municipality has worked to increase its funds and reserve levels are estimated to be $14.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2021. However, the cost of replacing all utility infrastructure is more than $367 million, he said.
“Based on the asset management work done to date, it is estimated that the district’s three utilities have a combined infrastructure deficit of approximately $89 million,” he said.
The operational rate increases are the result of inflation. In addition, the electrical rate increase is also driven by a 3.46 per cent FortisBC rate increase.
The proposed budget and rate increases were presented at a virtual public open house on Dec. 2. At present, municipal staff have not received any comments from the public about the proposed budgets or rate increases.
The rate increase bylaws will be brought back to council for final consideration at a special meeting of council on Dec. 17.
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