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New seasonal water rates approved for 2022-2027

Increased charges for water and wastewater use in spring and summer months, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Council approved the five-year rate change at Committee of the Whole Wednesday and also directed staff to report on a relief program for low and fixed income taxpayers who may need it. The bylaw will go to council’s Dec. 14 meeting.

Four scenarios had been presented in a Water and Wastewater Rates Study by Watson and Associates in August with two objectives – cost recovery and to have tourism help pay for impacts on the water and wastewater systems.

Two capital funding scenarios included achieving full lifecycle funding by 2030, or by 2034. They were further adapted with seasonal rates (April to September) more than current rates for summer consumption and less than current rates for non-summer consumption.

The model impacts urban, and rural water users that rely on bulk water hauling in the summer season. Staff note it may also encourage drought resistant landscaping to reduce summer water usage.

Three major factors that influence rates include the capital plan for what is required over the next 10 years; long-term operating costs and growth calculations for water and wastewater utility users in the next five years. The cost to maintain the underground infrastructure at the seven plants across the County is the most significant contributor to water rates.

Water and wastewater rates are approved by council every five years based on recommendations from staff and specialized consultants and are part of the County’s obligation to prepare a water financial plan under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The current rates are set to expire Dec. 31.

Public consultation included a ‘Have Your Say’ page on the County website with 23 comments and a public survey with 114 responses. Staff held consultations in October at seven locations in the County, interacted with residents on the street, handed out flyers and a virtual town hall was held with 65 views on YouTube.

 

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  1. ADJ says:

    How many times has this issue come up?? It always comes down to blaming someone else..beat the dead horse! it’s time to look for an alternative..make choices…
    I had suggested previously that where possible install a holding tank to collect rain water. Yes you may have to have a water hauler drop in a load over the summer depending on usage, tank size etc. but do the math…how much are you using now,how much in the future and size tank accordingly.
    A friend has a collection system that more than meets his needs . He buys his drinking water at the grocery or can fill up at the local filling station.
    Are there town bylaws that forbid this? I’d like to know.
    The fact that urbanites are consuming vast amounts of a poison Chlorine can’t be good so why not look for a solution.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    I too have a rural water system – an expensive one to boot! However, I’m not complaining because it is my choice as to where and how I live.

    As we can begin to see there are concerns being expressed about the supply and cost of water, regardless of where you live. Can you imagine the conversation that will take place within the next 25 years or so, once global warming and climate change makes water a top commodity and a valuable one – enough to make countries go to war over? Now is the time to get involved in the environmental issues – issues that might not affect us now, but ones within a few years will impact on our children and grandchildren. The future of our water supply could very well make the battle we had over wind turbines look like a cakewalk – a battle that might come back to haunt us.

    The dragging of feet and opposition to the water treatment plant caused a huge increase in the final price of construction – just as the dragging of feet and opposition to increased environmental regulations will. Maybe we need to learn from our past mistakes and not repeat them.

  3. ayar says:

    As a rural resident I wish I did have control over many aspects Jenny but I need to replace filters several times a year, renew pre-filter sand every three years, annual UV bulb replacement and have the system checked to prevent pathogens entering my water supply. On the septic side I had to replace the septic system (old one falling apart and too small) and to meet both building code and Quinte Conservation requirements – proximity to the lake – it needed a Class 3 septic that had to be installed in rock then a raised bed created. Total cost in excess of $50,000 and the electric pump runs 24/7 putting up my hydro bill. That would buy a lot of water in town, even at the proposed prices.

  4. Bruce Nicholson says:

    Thank you Henri for the breakdown to provide the rural cost of water and sewage. In addition to what you have invested, I had to install a $2,000 carbon tank and system to address the sulphur in our water. Water and sewage are expensive whether you be an urban or rural resident.

  5. JennyD says:

    Rural residents have more control over decisions and expenses. A rural resident has a final say over size, quantity etc. Municipal users are all paying the same rates with no say in how that is collected, spent or reinvested. I suppose the rural users could expense their own bulk water plant.

  6. Fred says:

    Since the water system belongs to Urbanites who are encountering extreme costs, bulk water haulage should be charged at the very highest rate we can get on the market.That water costs the Urbans to create, so get the best return possible to cover costs.

  7. Henri Garand says:

    Judging from the comments, I suspect many urban residents don’t realize the construction and maintenance costs involved in a rural well and septic disposal. Consider my own case for a seventeen-year-old water and septic system.

    Drilled well $ 6,000
    Cistern (due to low flow) $ 2,000
    Well and Cistern pumps $ 2,000
    Water softener and filtration $ 3,500
    (due to high hardness of water)
    Reverse Osmosis $ 750
    (to produce drinkable water)
    Septic tank and field $15,000
    Total $29,250

    Besides these upfront costs, I pay an average of $800 each year for cleaning and maintenance of the cistern, septic tank, and equipment.

    If I had invested the $29,250 to provide a 5% return, it would have given me nearly $1,500 annually. The lost income should therefore also be regarded as a cost.

    Instead, I own depreciating and deteriorating assets, some of which will have to be replaced in the near future. Assuming (improbably) everything has a 25-year lifespan, I need to save around $1,000 a year to pay for eventual replacement.

    So, the real annual cost of my water and septic system is at least $3,300 a year.

    Doubtless, other rural residents may not have these high costs because they have less complex systems, but let’s remember that urban residents receive treated water and don’t typically run the risk of loss of supply. I regard my water costs as part of country living, just as I think urban residents should understand they are paying for convenience and water security.

  8. SM says:

    Your water bill is made up of 3 distinct charges. 1) Standby charge – this is intended to cover the costs to maintain infrastructure. 2) Water supply – based upon on the volume of water that you use. 3) Sewage – calculated upon the volume on water supplied. Bulk water users pay for water supplied. Why should they pay a higher rate that urban customers. In fact in a way they are subsidizing urban customers by helping spread the cost. In Ontario the rule is that the users of municipal water systems are required to pay the full costs. By virtue of the logic employed by some commenters, why should water users in Wellington and Picton pay a higher rate for water in order to cover the higher water supply costs in Rossmore and Consecon. I live in an area served by municipal water.

  9. angela says:

    Last year, first time ever, I had problems with my well. Had to buy a new pump and pay the plumber for several calls. The final bill totaled almost $1,000. Would my neighbours in town want to pay the tab for me? Those of us who live rurally installed our own systems and pay to maintain them. Why should we pay to subsidize the townies? They are the ones with the fancy water purification system.

  10. Fred says:

    Because rural folks use the urban services. Town folks don’t use private rural wells.

  11. Argyle says:

    Consider the number of rural county residents who use the bulk water stations in Picton and Wellington or Water Delivery services when their wells go dry. Perhaps it’s time to charge more for water from these stations then if others get their way?

  12. SM says:

    Why would one ask his rural neighbour, who has paid to have a well installed, a septic field built, purchased a pump, filters and other water ‘purification’ products to subsidize YOUR water bill in the city? Are YOU prepared to share his costs?
    Water bills here are high because the users of the system are paying for Picton’s treatment plant, high cost water from Belleville and Trenton and a small scale plant for Peat’s Point. It is also a matter of scale. Fewer users = higher cost.

  13. KB says:

    What exactly is “low and fixed income” rate payors?…….In the County where even the lowest income is higher than many other geographic areas in Ontario. This does not support the working poor who won’t qualify for assistance with their water bills, but who will continue to struggle to make ends meet so they don’t have it turned off. The checks and balances do not measure up. So either go poor and live on assistance, or move if you can’t afford the water. That’s the message I am reading from this. The option is pretty clear – what’s the sense of working and putting yourself through all that grief if the county will cover your costs for their own expense.

  14. Fred says:

    The whole tax base should be paying for the water infrastructure as everyone uses and needs the urban centers.

  15. Dave Gray says:

    Prince Edward is blessed to be surrounded by water, most of our communities are close to water yet we pay some of the highest if not the highest in Ontario, why? Many of County folk are wondering if they can afford to continue to live here, which is sad.

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