Regina has announced an overall 2 per cent utility rate increase, effective January 1st, 2018, pending council approval later in December. The increase would support capital project investment in the city.
“The city is always working to maintain a high quality of service, while ensuring that our services remain affordable to residents. With the recommended 2 per cent increase, the average household will pay an additional $2.70/month on their water bill. This is the lowest rate increase in a decade,” said Chris Holden, city manager.
For 2018, based on revenues of $132.8 million, expenditures of $76 million, a transfer to the General Utility Fund Reserve of $49.2 million, and debt repayments of $7.5 million, the utility is proposing an overall 2 per cent increase to balance the budget.
The 2018 Utility Budget maintains existing service and service levels with a significant $56.3 million investment in infrastructure renewal, as well as upgrades to our wastewater and drainage systems to manage extreme weather events. Two key projects funded in 2018 include the Trunk Relief Initiative ($10 million in 2018), and design and construction of the St. Anne’s Park drainage project ($3 million in 2018).
“Recent surveys indicate residents support a user fee model for certain services. We are listening. The Water Utility is user pay and operates on a full cost recovery basis,” said Barry Lacey, executive director, Financial & Corporate Services. “The money collected through water bills and other user fees pays for the operating, maintenance and capital costs for running the water utility.”
The Utility rate model includes a daily rate and a usage rate. The daily base rate—which will be $1.40/day for the average household in 2018—supports capital and maintenance and funds the reserves so the City can keep our water, wastewater and drainage systems functioning. The usage rate is based on the volume used by households and businesses and the size of the pipes that you draw from.
“We all pay our fair share of maintaining and building the water, wastewater and drainage system’s infrastructure through the daily base rate,” Lacey said. “Because the usage rate is based on volume, it also means a portion of the water bill is based on what you use. Those who use less, pay less. We believe that this Utility model best meets the needs of Regina residents.”
“The Utility is in a strong, stable financial position with a five-year capital plan that will see more than $300 million invested in the City’s water, wastewater and drainage systems,” Holden said.
For more information on the Water Utility and the proposed rate increase, visit Regina.ca/water.
Individuals wishing to speak to council on this at the Monday, December 18th City Council meeting must have their submissions in to City Clerk’s Office by 1 p.m., Wednesday, December 13th.