West Kelowna  

West Kelowna residents will pay more for water and sewer, slightly less for garbage pickup

Water, sewer rates rising

West Kelowna residents are getting a slight break on the amount they will pay for garbage pickup this year.

But water and sewer rates are going up.

City council approved the new utility rate structure for this year that will add $81.52 to the yearly utility bill for those receiving water from the Powers Creek water system and $91.72 to Rose Valley water customers.

Breaking the figures down, the difference is due to higher water rates being charged to Rose Valley customers to pay for the new water treatment plant expected to come on line in the fall.

Chief financial officer Warren Everton says garbage collection rates are being reduced by about $2 a year.

"An internal loan created in 2009 for $1.3 million for the bins has been paid off, so that allows for a slight reduction," Everton told council during a presentation Tuesday afternoon.

Sewer rates, which have not been adjusted since 2017, are increasing by six per cent.

Everton says three per cent of that is due to an increase in the regional district contract and three per cent for operating costs and to build up reserves which he says are dangerously low.

Water rates take the biggest hit. Powers Creek users will pay about $61 more per year while those on the Rose Valley system will pay at additional $71. Those rates are expected to rise again in 2024.

Much of the Powers Creek increase ($37 annually) is for debt payment around the anticipated five-year borrowing for two major projects on the books this year, a new hypochlorite system and screening for the Powers Creek Water Treatment Plant.

The city set aside $3.55 million for design and construction in this year's capital budget.

Customers who will receive water on the Rose Valley system will pay an additional $50 this year for operating costs due to the anticipated fall opening of the system.

Everton says he anticipates that cost to increase again in 2024 as the city gets a better understanding of just how much it will cost to run the system on a yearly basis.

"The debt payment on the anticipated long-term loan for the building of the water treatment plant is still at $150 [per user] which is what was presented back when we first anticipated borrowing, but that was at lower interest rates."

Everton says the debt payment rate will remain the same since the city will not be converting temporary borrowing to a long-term loan until next year.

However, with interest rates at about 4.6 to five per cent, the debt servicing rates would have to rise to about $180 per user.

While rates could come down, Everton doesn't expect them to fall to the two per cent level they were when the debt payment amount was first calculated.

More West Kelowna News