Homeowners opened their mailboxes to discover their annual water, garbage and sewer bill had jumped again this year – despite reported savings with the new garbage contractor.
Homeowners now pay $198.96 for water, $146.52 for sewer, and $248 per year for garbage, green and recycling pick-up – a jump of $20 in total.
With the new contractor, First Class Waste Disposal, saving the district an estimated $1.2 million over the next five years many taxpayers were surprised to see a jump in their garbage rate of $7.
“I can understand there being questions,” said Mayor Laurie French, after Monday’s council meeting. But utility bills are generated by a current bylaw and with the new contractor just taking over in January there has been no chance for council to change the bylaw or review the rates, added French.
“We just don’t have enough information yet,” said French.
“It is all going to come down to the finance department and our budget discussions,” said French.
Budget meetings between staff and council are expected to start in the next three weeks, with the completed budget, also known as the five-year financial plan, to be passed by council by mid-May.
Although ratepayers should not expect a break in their water, sewer and garbage rates this year with utility bills already in their mailboxes, next year the savings with the new contract may soften the blow of any increases already set out in the bylaw.
On the other hand, the savings may never be passed onto the ratepayer directly, as the district continues to balance the operational budget for the Hope landfill.
“Currently we have been subsidizing our dump closure costs out of general revenue,” notes French.
No other information was provided by the District of Hope finance department as of presstime.