Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay sewer rate surcharge may spike to help replace pipes

CBC News has more details about a proposal to increase the sewer surcharge that Thunder Bay homeowners pay on their water bills.

City officials warn maintaining the sewer system using the current rate is not sustainable

City administration in Thunder Bay says increasing the sewer surcharge from 75 per cent to 90 per cent will "achieve financial sustainability, full-cost recovery and affordability for consumers, while maintaining the city's existing service levels for sewage collection and treatment." (istockphoto.com)

CBC News has more details about a proposal to increase the sewer surcharge that Thunder Bay homeowners pay on their water bills.

The surcharge currently sits at 75 per cent, but officials are suggesting raising the surcharge to 90 per cent to help the city avoid going further into debt.

The proposed increase would cost the average homeowner an extra $80 a year.

The manager of the city's environment division said some of the money would go toward replacing sewer pipes.

"We'll be increasing funding, which will go toward the renewal and rehabilitation of those assets,” Kerri Marshall said.

A report prepared for city council says Thunder Bay must spend about $170 million over two decades on capital projects, plus $10 million in the next five years for new storm sewers.

A decrease in water consumption  — about 20 per cent in recent years — means revenue has dropped.

The report says increasing the surcharge would allow the city to stop using debt for large sewer projects.

City officials warn that maintaining the sewer system using the current rate is not sustainable.

There is another report, the storm water master plan, which recommends other methods to pay for storm water systems (storm sewers, storm water ponds, capturing storm water, etc.)

Currently, storm water system upkeep is paid for through taxes and water rates. The storm water master plan report is due in the fall.

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