Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors has approved water rate increases for Vavenby and Blue River.
The amendment to the rates, as well as to rates charged for the nine other water systems and two sewer systems operated by the TNRD, was made during a board meeting held Dec. 15.
In Vavenby, the new rate for a single family dwelling will be $186 per quarter (three months) in 2017, then rising $189 for 2018 to 2020.
Other user classes, such as businesses, will pay different rates.
Users of the Blue River water system will pay $177 per quarter for a single family dwelling in 2017, $180 in 2018, $183 in 2019, $186 in 2020, and $189 in 2021.
As in Vavenby, other user classes, such as businesses, will pay different rates.
TNRD staff conducted a rate review in 2016 for the TNRD’s 11 water and two sewer systems.
The review resulted in recommendations to the board in October for changes to user fee and parcel tax rates that would ensure the services remain financially sustained over the next five years.
Incremental rates increases had been approved by the board with adoption of the TNRD Water System Acquisition and Sustainability Strategy in 2010; however, increased operating costs have been experienced since the last rate increases were applied in 2015.
Further operating cost increases will occur as a result of increased costs for power, chlorine and wages anticipated for 2017 and future years.
Since 2011 the TNRD has allocated direct costs for current TNRD systems such that each individual water system is responsible for its own direct costs. These costs were phased in over the period 2011 through 2013, with a further increase in user fee rates in 2015.
The tolls charged to customers of current TNRD systems were capped at a maximum of $100 per month.
Indirect costs for current TNRD systems have been allocated to each individual water system user at the rate of $10 per month per user/parcel. This rate was phased in over the period 2011 through 2015. All overhead and administrative costs for current TNRD systems have been allocated to the Electoral Area Administration Service.
Public meetings were held in November and December for each of the 11 water services to share information on the costs and related sources of revenues and to hear feedback and suggestions from the public.
At the meetings, the financial plan for each service was presented, planned user fee and parcel tax rates were explained and questions were answered. Generally these meeting were well attended and well received.
The Vavenby water rate meeting was attended by 11 people, while there was very low attendance in Blue River.
Staff also responded to several phone calls and emails from residents who were unable to attend the meetings.
A newsletter that was mailed out to water system users in November and also provided at the public meetings.
Not everyone was pleased where rate increases are planned but, generally, the meeting attendees expressed appreciation for the information and explanations provided by staff.
A related topic discussed at each public meeting was the installation of water meters in the near future. Property owners were told this would definitely be the case and this was generally well accepted with little argument.
In several cases the subject was actually first brought up by meeting attendees who were requesting water meters be installed.