“The City continually assesses our water utility assets with the forethought and need to manage our utility and replace aging water and sewer infrastructure. These rate reviews are completed annually and can vary significantly depending on the list of capital projects,” explained Aron Hershmiller – Assistant Director of Environmental Services, with the City at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.
Some future Capital projects consist of a Wastewater Plant System Renewal, the addition of new Water Meters, Water and Sewer pipe replacement, plus additional Water Investigation and Water Tower and Water Well Improvement projects.
“These capital projects dictate what future increases will be required in order to finance these projects,” said Hershmiller.
The proposed water consumption and sewer rate increase, which was ultimately unanimously endorsed by Council, was three per cent, and $1 added to the residential base rate which equates to a combined increase of 3.7 per cent, stated Hershmiller.
“These figures were identified to develop the 2022 Operational and Capital budgets. These increases equate to approximately $300,000 of revenue to be used for water and sewer infrastructure projects.,” he said.
The Base Rate charge includes the cost to replace water meters, water and sewer pipe replacement, water meter services, water billing, and corporate service expenditures. With the increase of service connection breaks, and the increasing costs for replacement, it is essential to continue with increases to our base rate, noted Hershmiller’s report.
As background Hershmiller noted the water and sewer underground system is an extensive system made up of different age class, size, and type of piping from cast iron to PVC, adding there is “over 280,000 linear meters of water and sewer pipe in the ground with a current replacement price tag of approximately $700 million.
“With our current budget we are able to replace approximately 500 linear meters of water pipe per year. With that being said, we have approximately 14,000 linear meters of water pipe that is over 75 years old, and with our current replacement program of about 500 m/year it will take nearly 30 years just to replace that infrastructure alone.”
For illustrative purposes, the city looked at the City of Yorkton’s proposed 2022 rates and compared them with 10 other Saskatchewan cities’ 2021 rates.
When comparing Yorkton’s proposed base rate of $18.25/month to the other cities, Yorkton’s rate was significantly lower than the average base rate charge of $45.98 / month. Yorkton’s usage rate of $3.34 per cubic meter (m3) is also below the average of $3.77 /m3 when compared with the other communities, detailed the report.
By taking Yorkton’s average of 13 cubic meters (2,860 gallons) per household per month and using this figure, an average home in Yorkton can expect monthly cost of $61.67 compared to $59.37 in 2021.
Some homeowners’ charges will be lower or higher than this amount, depending on their usage.
Water and Sewer rates are reviewed annually and provide revenue for operational and capital expenditures. Rates are discussed annually with the Environmental Committee and the committee understands the necessity of increases in order to maintain the water and sewer infrastructure within the city.