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Wastewater rates to jump 3.9%, while Woolwich holds steady on water rates for 2017

It’s business as usual for water customers in Woolwich, with the township holding steady on current rates through 2017.

Doing your business as usual will cost more, however, as wastewater rates are set to climb by 3.9 per cent.

In approving budgets for water and wastewater at a meeting Jan. 31, councillors back a plan to hold the water rate unchanged at $1.71 per cubic metre even though the region has increased its bulk water rate by some two per cent.

Wastewater charges will go up 3.87 per cent to $2.50 per cubic metre, reflecting a regional price increase of 7.9 per cent, director of finance Richard Petherick told councillors.

The rate hike will add about $20.40 a year – $3.40 per bimonthly billing period – to the average user’s bill, based on 204 cubic meters annually.

Petherick noted that, while regional water charges account for three-quarters of the township’s operating costs, adjustments to its own budget and a healthy financial picture allow for flexibility in offsetting price hikes from the region, which has been boosting prices for years, often at many times the rate of inflation.

While welcoming the rate freeze on the water side, Coun. Larry Shantz asked if the move might result in large increases next year, with Petherick noting the finances should be fine with the projected increase from the region in 2018 (1.9 per cent).

Huge increases have been the norm in recent years, as the region implements the user-pay, full-cost-recovery model for its water and wastewater systems, as mandated by the province.

Residents can also expect an extra ding on their bills as the township replaces aging water meters. Along with allowing for remote reading of the meters, the new units are expected to be more accurate in measuring water usage, however.

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