Ottawa Developing New Rate Structure for Water Services

The City of Ottawa is developing a new rate structure to fund the water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

 

The objective of the rate review is to establish a new rate structure that covers infrastructure costs in a way that is fair, affordable and sustainable.

 

Currently, water bills are based on the amount of cubic metres (equivalent to 1,000 litres) of water consumed.

The City charges the same price for every cubic metre (m3) to every customer, plus a sewer surcharge of 117% for wastewater and storm systems.

 

In 2015, the water rate was set at $1.699/m3 and the sewer surcharge was $1.988/m3

 

The current rate structure needs to be improved because:

  • revenues are based almost entirely on water consumption, which is declining
  • changes in consumption do not meaningfully impact the cost of service delivery
  • stormwater service costs are not linked to drinking water consumption.
  • all properties benefit from stormwater services but not every property receives a water bill

The new rate structure should:

  • ensure that everyone who benefits from a service pays their fair share
  • provide a stable source of funding that fully recovers the City’s cost to provide services
  • be affordable at the level of consumption that meets basic needs
  • encourage water conservation and help to manage demand
  • attract local businesses by being comparable to other rates in the province

The City is proposing a new rate structure that will:

  • introduce a fixed fee component to stabilize revenues and align more the fixed nature of the costs to deliver these services
  • retain a consumption-based portion to promote water conservation
  • introduce a separate stormwater fee to align stormwater costs, which are related to runoff from hard or “impervious” surfaces, to revenues

Under the proposed new system, property owners would continue to only pay for services that they actually receive. For example, properties with private water and wastewater systems would only pay to support the stormwater system.

 

I encourage you to learn more about this important initiative by attending one of the consultation sessions.

 

Public session dates are as follows:

Monday, March 21, 2016                          7:00 p.m.      Shenkman Arts Centre

Tuesday, March 29, 2016                         7:00 p.m.      West Carleton Community Complex

Wednesday, March 30, 2016                    7:00 p.m.      City Hall

Thursday, March 31, 2016                       7:00 p.m.      Navan Memorial Centre

Saturday, April 2, 2016                            1:30 p.m.      Metcalfe Community Centre

Tuesday, April 5, 2016                             7:00 p.m.      Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre

Thursday, April 7, 2016                            7:00 p.m.      Nepean Sportsplex

 

I am currently working with staff to secure a venue that is closer to the Kanata and Stittsville residents so that they will not have to travel as far to participate in the process. However if one cannot attend they are welcome to provide comments by completing the feedback form that will be available on Ottawa.ca in the near future.

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