Unlike changes to how sanitary sewer rates are charged, the creation of a storm sewer utility for Penticton won’t mean an additional charge on renters’ utility bills.
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Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said the goal is to create a direct link between collecting revenue and the expenses for operating the storm sewer system, which drains away rain — and melting snow — away from where it might cause flooding.
“That utility is not much different than your water utility or your sanitary sewer utility and it has to compete with funds for parks and roads and buildings,” said Moroziuk. “We want to separate it out and we want to create a direct linkage between the expenses and the revenue.”
While the charge will be separated from property taxes, it will remain on the municipal tax bill, not transfer to individual utility bills.
“Whoever is getting the tax bill today, they’re now paying for the stormwater utility, a portion of their taxes is going to that,” said Moroziuk. “On the tax bill, the intention would be in year one, they would actually show a reduction in your municipal taxes. Then it would show a charge on your tax bill for the stormwater utility.”
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The city needs $2.5 million each year to fully cover the costs of the stormwater system. Moroziuk said there will be a phased-in rate increase over seven years to reach the needed level, with annual rates rising to about $150 in 2025. The final charges will depend on whether city hall chooses to go with a single flat fee, or one tiered by property type.
Moroziuk said consultation is ongoing on that decision. When that is complete, a recommendation will be submitted to city council for a final decision.