by Colin Smith
A new $5 levy on Morinville householders to pay for stormwater services is closer to reality as Town Council gave second reading to 2019 utility rates at its regular meeting on Tuesday.
With the introduction of the levy monthly utilities rates would go up 6.81 per cent for the average homeowner over 2018.
Combined rates for water, sanitary sewer and garbage disposal services show an increase of 2.5 per cent for the average residential account.
In 2019, the average residential client will pay $1,541.63 for water, sanitary sewer, garbage disposal and stormwater services, $126.22 per month.
Last year, the same client paid $1,418.03 for water, sanitary sewer and garbage, $118.17. Combined rates for those services increase $3.05 to $121.22 per month, $1,544.63 for the year.
Because the existing contract for garbage disposal expires on March 31 next year, the 64-cent monthly rate rise is based on an estimated two per cent contract cost increase.
The stormwater levy would come into effect January 1. The initial $5 levy actually represents a slight drop in the cost to homeowners, who currently pay $5.15 for the same services through their property taxes.
The levy for non-residential property owners is $10.
However, both residential and non-residential property owners can expect those levies to rise significantly if the Town goes along with the report that recommended the move from the previous tax-based system of funding stormwater services to a levy.
That report recommends a transition to rates that will pay the full cost of operating the system (currently $208,000 annually) and build funds for rehabilitation and maintenance requirements.
If the report is followed the charge would rise annually until the year 2027, when it would be $32 per month for residential property and $64 for non-residential property.
The current charges cover operations only, with no money set aside to replace the Town’s $36 million in stormwater infrastructure or add new facilities.
That the same rate is now being paid on commercial properties as on residential is also considered unfair because they typically have a greater impact on the stormwater system.