The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has given final approval to this year’s water rates.
Most customers will see 2.9 percent hikes, while agriculture rates will rise 3.7 percent.
Director Bob Spiers felt the increase was higher than it needed to be.
“We’re putting an extra million bucks into reserves. That means the water rates have been increased unduly,” Spiers told CJIB News.
Director Jim Garlick said most water customers don’t agree with using one percent of the increase for the master water plan, and he feels more emphasis should be put on getting senior government grants before MWP projects proceed.
“Moving forward, we’d be foolish to fund master water plan projects on rate increases. We need to have a plan in place to get more grants,” said Garlick.
Part of the master plan calls for securing at least two-thirds funding from senior governments before proceeding.
Supporters of the increase say building-up reserves reduces the uncertainty of water-use fluctuations from year to year.
“When you look at the water rates, you never know how much water you are going to use, and there’s a balance there. You have to maintain the infrastructure, but putting money away for the future master water plan, it’s not a bad thing,” says GVAC director Akbal Mund.
The rates are scheduled to go up a similar amount for the next two years.