Municipal water and sewer rates increase

The cost of municipal water and sewer services is on the rise across Muskoka.

During reports from the committee portion of the June 20 district council meeting, Councilor Phil Harding reported on a joint meeting of the Engineering and Public Works and Business Services Committee held May 30 , which he chaired.

Harding noted that the committee heard a presentation by Hemson Consulting Ltd., hired by the District of Muskoka to submit to one of several growth-related studies.

“After the presentation and discussion, the committee is recommending to the board today a five-year rolling increase equal to 2.5% per year for water and 3% per year for wastewater,” Harding told the advice. “Due to the ongoing financial difficulties of COVID, the committee also recommends a new deadline and an extension until January 31, 2023 for the implementation of our mandatory sign-in regulations,” he added. “It should be noted however that since the beginning and our most recent efforts to update our mandatory connection regulations, we now have a compliance rate of 61%, which is excellent news.

District water and sewer rates are among the highest in the province. City officials have continually pointed to Muskoka’s vast geography and the fact that there are nine drinking water facilities and eight wastewater (sewer) facilities to operate and maintain as well as nine settling lagoons (according to its website Web), like the challenge.

The District charges for the service through a fixed charge, a consumption charge and a tax levy.

Among the consultant’s summary of key findings, rate increases are necessary to continue to meet operating and capital obligations.

It also concluded that current capital reserve levels are low and could pose a financial risk to the district in the short term to complete critical repair and replacement work without continued rate increases.

You can find the consultant’s report here.

Harding also gave the council a summary of the district’s basic infrastructure, with regards to water and sewer services, he said the district operates 318 kilometers of sewage sewers and factories. treatment costs, with a total cost of approximately $620 million. “We have 361 kilometers of water lines and associated reservoirs and plants at a total cost of $572 million.”

The board approved the committee’s recommendation. Recommendations for rate increases are expected to be part of the district’s 2023 budget.

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Melissa C. Keyes