Utility rates and fees to rise in Coquitlam

City to charge 2% more for water and 5% for sewer and drainage; garbage collection not going up

Coquitlam utility rates and fees are going up in 2019 but garbage collection rates aren’t.

On Monday, council approved an average rate increase of approximately 2% for water utility fees and 5% for sewer and drainage with no rate increase for solid waste.

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According to a report to council, water costs to municipalities from Metro Vancouver are expected to increase by 11.2% in 2019. Buying the water is about 54% of Coquitlam’s total 2019 water budget. To offset the large increase, the city is going to draw upon its water utility reserve to keep the increase to 2%. To do that, however, the single family rate will jump 6.7% while the multi-family fee will decrease by 4.4%.

The difference comes from a 2015 decision by the city to phase in a more equitable distribution of the charges because the cost to supply water to multi-family units is lower than it is for single-family homes. The differential should be readjusted by 2020, said the report.

Metro Vancouver’s bill to Coquitlam for sewer and drainage in 2019 is expected to jump by 16.5% due to a number of capital improvement projects by the regional district. However, the city is dipping into its sewer utility reserve to help keep the increase down to 5%.

Coun. Dennis Marsden said there had been some talk at Metro Vancouver there would be some cost savings in their capital projects that might eventually be passed down to municipalities.

“Pipes, pumps and plants, all of them require a whole bunch of investment in the next few years to deal with the growth in our communities,” said Mayor Richard Stewart. “There’s pressures from members of the [Metro Vancouver] board to examine those costs, the water savings would flow back [to municipalities].”

Coun. Craig Hodge, who sits on the regional district’s board with Stewart, said many of the capital projects won’t come on board for a couple of years, so if there are some savings it won’t be much.

Council also approved fee changes that will boost revenues by approximately $450,000 in 2019.

Revenue from the building bylaw fees is being boosted by 3.2% to account for inflation and generate an anticipated $193,800. Planning and development fees are also to go up 3.2% which will bring in $34,300. 

Parks fee identified as being below average or below neighbouring municipal average, including indoor and outdoor pool club rentals, are being raised 3.2% adding $73,500 to city coffers.

newsroom@tricitynews.com

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