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Posted: November 24, 2020

City sewer rates climbing eight per cent

Kimberley City Council Report

By Nowell Berg

On November 23, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.

Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick.

With new COVID-19 Public Health orders in place, councillors attended the meeting by virtual video conference. The press and public are not allowed in council chambers.

The meeting also streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.

Sewer Rates Up in 2021

For the third year in a row, council supported a 2021 sewer utility rate increase of eight per cent.

CFO Jim Hendricks commented, “The need for the eight per cent increase, which I realize is quite significant, is the planned construction of a new sewer treatment facility in 2023.”

Sewer rate increases are needed to cover the debt payments on the city’s portion of the cost. To date, the estimated construction cost of the sewer treatment facility is $62.6 million. The city is applying for a grant that will cover 90% of the construction cost, or $56.3 million. This leaves the city to finance the remaining $6.26 million, which comes from sewer utility users.

This year’s increase will add $7.59 per quarter ($30.36 per year) to the sewer bill for a single-family household.

Hendricks told council the eight per cent yearly increase will continue through 2024.

Bulk Water Rates Set to Increase

While bulk water rates do not directly affect residents, those rates will increase by 20% in 2021. All other water utility rates will remain unchanged.

The impact on the bulk water users, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR), Trickle Creek Golf Course, Teck Resources and, in some situations, Bootleg Gap Golf Course, would see an increase “from $1.72 to $2.06 per 1,000 gallons effective January 1, 2021,” said CFO Hendricks.

After some discussion whether the increase would cover only one year, or several years, council approved the bulk water increase for just 2021.

Mayor McCormick noted the city should undertake “communication back to stakeholders on what’s to come” with regard to 20% yearly bulk water rate increases expected to be approved for subsequent years out to 2025.

In that year, according to CFO Hendricks’ report, the bulk water rate will be at a level where the city would reach “full cost recovery” to deliver the water.

BC Transit Award

Longtime Kimberley Transportation Society (KTS) office manager Carole Rausch has been recognized by BC Transit with the Superstar Award.

Noting Rausch’s 30-years of service, Coun. Kitto said, “This award is given to extraordinary workers for BC Transit.” He went on to say that Rausch received one of six awards handout in 2020.

For emphasis, Kitto read, in part, from the award, “She is respected and appreciated by everyone in the Kimberley office and is truly the glue that holds it all together.”

Citing his work with the KTS, Coun. Kitto also added, “She is an amazing person and its a real pleasure to work with her.”

Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. Due to pandemic restrictions, the public is not allowed to attend council chambers.

The next scheduled council meeting and the last for 2020: December 14. It will live stream on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel.

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