Utility bills are due in Coquitlam on Thursday (March 31).
The annual payment's reminder from the city was issued today (March 29) as the money is set to cover costs for everyday home services like water, sewers, garbage and green waste collection.
However, there is some good news (and perhaps a small sigh of relief) for those who may have been blindsided by the addition of sewer fees to the utility bill as opposed to its usual summer stamp.
In early February, city council unanimously voted 'Yes' to deferring late fees and penalties to July 4 to give local residents "who need more time to pay all or a portion" of the 2022 bill.
The date is the same as when Coquitlam property tax payments are due as part of the cushioned approach.
Afterwards, on July 5, a five per cent late fee will be added to those that are unpaid and another five per cent after that on Oct. 1.
According to a report last fall from Jaime Boan, Coquitlam’s general manager of engineering and public works, the change allows:
- for the city to consolidate more of the utility charges onto one bill
- for more transparency on the impact of sewer rate increases by Metro Vancouver
- for cuts to administration processing time
"A sewer use fee would enable future implementation of tiered flat rates for single-family and multi-family sewer customers, which better aligns the fee with estimated consumption or use of this service," Boan added when the decision came down on Feb. 7.
Boan also noted the change means roughly 2,100 Coquitlam homeowners part of a property tax deferment program will not be able to put off their sewer charges as the fees won’t be on the property bill.
"The cost for these utility services is charged separately from property taxes and supports operating costs, as well as the replacement of aging infrastructure such as pipes, reservoirs, pumps and more," adds city revenue services manager Rhonda Anderson in a separate statement.
Coquitlam is also set to have a utilities installment plan available for homeowners on their 2023 bill.
This would split it into six pre-authoritized payments and would allow "more manageable amounts over the course of a year" with the first withdraw scheduled for Aug. 1, 2022.