Council approves 10% increase for water rates

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Merrickville-Wolford council passed a resolution at the last council meeting to adopt the water and wastewater rates for 2019. As expected, the rates have increased by 10 per cent in the Village. This is in line with the municipality’s Water and Wastewater Financial Plan, which was adopted by the previous council in 2016 in an effort to move towards full cost recovery of its water and wastewater system. Treasurer, Kirsten Rahm, says that the system is currently user-pay, meaning that the general tax levy is not used to cover the costs of the water treatment facility. However, they are continuing to raise the water rates in line with the 2016 Financial Plan because the costs of operating the system still outruns revenues every year. “I cannot accurately predict how long it will be until the system is self sustaining,” Kirsten says.

Before the by-law to implement the 10 per cent increase as of January 1, 2019 was passed, Councillor Bob Foster asked that staff prepare a document to let residents know the status of the system, and where their water/wastewater rates are going to be passed out with water bills. Councillor Timothy Molloy also suggested that they have the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), which runs the system, come in and make a presentation about the treatment facility, how it is working, and how they are dealing with any issues (such as the smell that wafted from the plant last summer).

During the public question period, resident Joan Spencer asked council to outline how much of the base rate is going to pay the debenture for the building of the plant in 2011. “I would like to see it divided on the bill,” she said. With direction, Kirsten said this is something that she will look into.

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