Director of Financial Services, Erin Anderson made a presentation on water and sewer budgets to council at the November 10 special meeting of council. (Town of Ladysmith/YouTube)

Director of Financial Services, Erin Anderson made a presentation on water and sewer budgets to council at the November 10 special meeting of council. (Town of Ladysmith/YouTube)

Three percent increase proposed for 2021 Ladysmith water utility rates

No increases proposed for water parcel tax, sewer parcel tax, or sewer utility rates

Town Council held their second budget workshop at the November 10 special meeting of council. Director of Financial Services, Erin Anderson made a presentation on water and sewer rates for 2021.

Anderson’s presentation is available online, and the full budget is available in the November 10 agenda package.

RELATED: Council discusses 2021 preliminary operating budget

Council will look to finalize water and sewer rates at their November 17 meeting. Adoption of water and sewer rate bylaws will take place at the December 17 meeting of council.

2021 Sewer Budget

Although there is no increase in sewer rates or sewer parcel tax for 2021, a chart of utility charge increases from 2007 to 2021 shows a sharp increase in rates beginning in 2016. Annual sewer utility charges for 2021 are nearly double the rate in 2014.

This increase was directly caused by work on the waste water treatment plant that began in 2016. The waste water treatment plant project was required to meet federal regulations.

RELATED: Ladysmith’s wastewater treatment plant honoured for engineering excellence

A bulk of the revenues generated from the sewer parcel tax goes toward servicing the debt of water infrastructure projects. $657,500 of sewer parcel tax goes toward servicing debt, $152,804 goes into reserves, and $575,375 is invested in capital projects.

Of the eight capital projects for the 2021 sewer budget, seven are funded completely by sewer utilities. The sewer main upgrade for the Rocky Creek Main on Oyster Bay Road will be half funded by developer cost charges, (DCCs). The total cost of the main replacement will be $80,750 — $40,375 of which will come from sewer utilities.

With no proposed changes to the sewer utility rates, the monthly rate will remain at $30.19, for an overall annual rate of $362.25 per single family home. The sewer parcel tax will remain at $350 per year.

2021 Water Budget

Water utility charges will increase by three percent. This continues a trend in rising rates to pay for the new water filtration plant. Much like the sewer rates, 2021 water rates are nearly double rates paid in 2014.

The three percent increase in water rates results in an increase of $3.66 per quarter for an average single family dwelling using one cubic metre of water per day. The total annual cost will be $503.28 which is a $14.64 increase from 2020.

The water parcel tax will remain at $459 per year. $382,180 from the water parcel tax will be used to pay down debt on the water filtration plant, $488,000 will fund 2021 capital projects, and $360,945 will go into reserves. All 2021 water capital projects are completely funded by the water parcel tax.

RELATED: Ladysmith approves borrowing up to $6M for water filtration plant

The Town of Ladysmith operates water and sewer services at cost — which means that all revenues generated through utility charges and taxation must fund the operation of water and sewer services. Revenues generated by utility charges and parcel taxes cannot be used for other Town budgets.

Have your say

Town Council is still seeking feedback from residents as they shape the 2021 budget.

All residents of Ladysmith can submit questions and feedback to the Town via email: info@ladysmith.ca. Or by mail to Ladysmith City Hall, 410 Esplanade, Box 220, Ladysmith B.C. V9G 1A2.

Residents may also ask questions during the live-streaming of council meetings on the Town’s YouTube page.