Cape Breton Regional Municipality has projected a $330,000 deficit in its annual water utility budget, therefore the munipality is taking steps to potentially increase water rates.

The municipal council voted in favour of hiring a consultant to develop the application to the board that will go to the Utility and Review Board for approval. The consultant will assist the utility by looking at pricing scheme options that will ensure the utility is sustainable.

Mike MacKeigan, the utility’s administration manager, told CBC News that one of the reasons behind the increase in costs is federal water safety standards are now tougher, making it more expensive to provide water. At the same time, the area is losing customers who pay for water service because of outmigration and a struggling economy. “There are occasions where we lose a large customer like Saputo … where they would be using a high volume of water because of their production requirements”.

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