The 2023 charges for water and sewer services in Gibsons are increasing by five per cent this year over 2022 levels.
Town council endorsed moving forward with changes to the fees and parcel taxes for both utilities at its Feb. 21 regular meeting.
The average residential property will be levied about $35 more for sewer and $45 more for water this year. The adjustments bring the average annual cost of fees and parcel taxes to $976 for water and $741 for sewer for homes receiving those services.
Also increasing 2023 are residential garbage and recycling collection fees, which are going up by $12 for the year. The price of additional container collection tickets for that system are also going up by $1. Semiannual billings for garbage and organics collection will rise to $112.50 and the additional container pick-up tokens will be priced at $4 each.
The increases for sewer and water continue the municipality's approach to gradually raise the funds collected to pay for the capital and operating costs of those services. A five per cent increase has been applied each year since 2019. The report said that staff anticipated similar adjustments would be required to meet costs through to 2027. According to the report, inflation as well as infrastructure maintenance and replacement were factors in the changes.
AAP possible in 2023
Planning for an alternate approval process (AAP) to borrow $1.35 million for two sewer infrastructure projects also moved forward at the meeting. Replacement of the wastewater treatment plant centrifuge is slated to use up $950,000 of those funds.
The remaining $400,000 from that potential loan would be used for Prowse Road sewer force main replacement. That project is budgeted at $915,000. A loan for the Prowse Road lift station secured in 2019 has $667,000 available. Contributions from development cost charges, capital reserves, sewer parcel taxes and user fees are projected to pay for the rest.
Council is slated to consider the AAP in March. Coun. Annemarie De Andrade suggested the council wait until further details on the province’s $1 billion “Growing Communities Fund” are announced, in case either project could be funded through that source. That program announced on Feb. 10 will provide one-time grants in 2023 to all 188 BC municipalities and regional districts, which can be used to address infrastructure and amenities demands.
Director of Infrastructure Services, Trevor Routley noted that preparing for an AAP would ensure the projects could be completed this year if needed, but does not commit the town to borrowing all or any of the authorized funds.