Impact of rising water/sewer rates amplified for Iroquois users

The numbers have been reworked by staff, but the end result will still be big increases to water and sewer rates for residents of South Dundas who are connected to municipal infrastructure.

The hardest hit by the increase will be those connected to the Iroquois waste water treatment plant.

Since the last time water and sewer rates were reviewed, about five years ago, consumption has dropped so much that the money being collected through the billing process is not covering the costs of the water and sewer plants.

The only solution to fix the problem is to raise the rates, significantly.

Staff first presented the numbers to council March 11. Those numbers showed that a 20 percent rate increase is needed. 

Following that meeting, staff were asked to rework the numbers to balance the budget, and minimize any transfer of funds to reserves.

The result will be a three cent increase in the consumption rate. It will go from 62 cents per cubic meter of consumption to 65 cents per cubic meter of consumption. But, that’s not all.

The water plant capital levy will go from the current charge of 50 cents per cubic meter to 75 cents per cubic meter. 

Also, the fixed rate water charge will increase from $19.54 to $21.99 monthly.

For those connected to the Morrisburg sewer system the sewage charge will be calculated at 100 percent of the water charges, excluding the capital levy.  

The calculation will not be the same for those connected to the Iroquois sewer system. 

Because water consumption in Iroquois is so low, the sewer charges are not sufficient to cover sewer operating costs. Already the reserves are being depleted by as much as $100,000 per year and with the new plant being commissioned later this year, the operating costs will see a huge jump. 

The new plant, will cost at least $100,000 per year in hydro alone, according to public works manager Hugh Garlough. 

He explained that the bigger building and the more complex treatment systems all mean added costs. 

However, those added costs that come with the new plant are necessary to meet the Ministry of the Environment’s secondary treatment criteria, added South Dundas chief administrative officer Steve McDonald.

Iroquois water users will be billed the same fixed water rate of $21.99 monthly, the same water consumption rate of 65 cents per cubic meter and the same capital levy charge. 

However, their sewer charges will be calculated at 125 percent of the water cost, excluding the capital levy.

Staff warned that this 125 percent figure, might need to go as high as 170 percent after the new waste water treatment plant is commissioned.

Once the new rates come into effect, in May or June, the average household in Morrisburg will see an increase of about 13 percent in their monthly water and sewer bill, while the average household in Iroquois will see an increase of about 21 percent in their monthly water and sewer bill.

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