Water, sewer and garbage rates will be increasing next year. File photo

Water, sewer and garbage rates will be increasing next year. File photo

Castlegar utility rates increasing in 2023

Average house will see an annual increase of about $48

The City of Castlegar is set to increase water, sewer and garbage rates for residential and commercial users in the new year.

Water rates will increase by 5.6 per cent. The average user will pay an extra $1.85 per month, or $22.16 per year, up to $418 from $396 last year.

Sewer rates will increase by 6.5 per cent. For an average home the increase will be $1.92 per month or $23.06 per year, going up from $355 to $378.

Staff suggested the larger increase for sewer rates based on the weaker financial condition of the sewer utility compared to the water utility. This was partly due to smaller than expected transfers to reserves due to unexpected expenses related to dealing with the city’s biosolids.

Garbage rates will go up by two per cent or $2.44 annually. The new rate will be $123.32.

Garbage rates will be evaluated again later in 2023 once the city’s new curbside organics program begins.

RELATED: Castlegar curbside organics collection pushed to 2023

The increases add up to a total of about $48 per year, or $4 per month for the average consumer.

The biggest driver behind the rate increase was inflation. Staff said the increases were necessary in order to maintain purchasing power and prevent the eroding of reserves.

Last year the city adopted the Municipal Price Index as a measure to forecast the inflation rate and guide decision making on utility rates. By examining local expenditures, regional market conditions, federal and provincial price indices, and macroeconomic influences, the MPI provides customized insight for municipalities.

The 2023 MPI is forecast to be 5.6 per cent followed by 4.4 per cent in 2024.

The city also increased some charges associated with water and sewer services such as water turn on/off, construction water use, hydrant use and the bulk consumption rate.

The city has been replacing collection carts that were damaged beyond repair by wildlife with a refurbished one free of charge for the first incident, as long as it was secured properly. But there was no fee structure set for subsequent replacements. There will now be a $170 fee for cart replacements after the first one to recover costs.

READ MORE: Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy named B.C. finance minister


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