Nelson’s utility rates are going up, but not as much as expected.
City council has approved a three percent increase in water rates and two per cent hike in sewer rates for 2015.
For a single family home, it amounts to another $15 per year for water and $9 per year for sewer, bringing the combined total to $957.
It follows a request from mayor Deb Kozak to city staff to look at spreading out infrastructure upgrades over a longer term to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Originally water rates were slated to increase four per cent each year from 2015 to 2019 and sewer rates were to go up three per cent annually from 2015 to 2019.
Another option presented to council was to keep the water rate increase to two per cent and the sewer rate to 1.5 per cent.
Before council decided, they wanted to make sure the city could keep on target with its capital upgrades and maintain enough in its reserves. The city has been averaging 1.8 km in annual water line replacement and 2.5 km in annual sewer line replacement, and has been able to reduce costs by doing the work in-house.
“We kept the rates as low as we possibly could,” councillor Bob Adams said. “It means a $2 increase per month for each single family dwelling, which I think is reasonable and affordable.”
Councillor Janice Morrison said the city needs to be careful about setting its rates because it does need to pay for infrastructure upgrades, but she supported the reduction with the rest of council.
Secondary suites will continue to receive a 50 per cent discount.