New structure for Greater Vernon water rates

GVAC members have also decided to hold a workshop in May to determine multiple objectives for rates.

It will be easier for politicians and bureaucrats to wade through the process of setting water rates.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has decided to simplify the rate structure by reducing the number of tiers from five to three. Other aspects of the process have been streamlined.

“It doesn’t change the overall revenue,” said Zee Marcolin, water utility manager.

GVAC members have also decided to hold a workshop in May to determine multiple objectives for rates.

Juliette Cunningham, chairperson, says the discussion has to include agricultural fees.

“That`s a real hot-button issue but we hear from residential customers that they don`t like subsidizing agriculture,” she said.

“Every year we go through this debate and we`re tweaking here and tweaking there. We can all agree that it`s not working.”

There was a suggestion that residential, industrial, commercial and industrial users pay the same base and consumption fees.

“It’s all the same potable water. It`s about fairness,” said director Bob Spiers.

However, director Mike Macnabb suggested such a move could penalize large water customers.

“I’d like to know what Sleeman’s thinks if the rates jump. If they walk down the road, there will be a hole in Vernon with taxes,” he said.

There is a proposed two per cent increase overall to all water rates in 2016.

 

Vernon Morning Star