Oak Bay residents won’t have to worry about changes to the way sewer costs are divided – council decided to maintain the status quo and have residents keep paying their own way.
Council voted in the meeting on July 22 to keep everything the same, meaning that all consumption charges related to the Capital Regional District sewer costs will continue to cover 100 per cent of new debt costs, and all costs relating to the sewage treatment plant.
Until 2004, all sanitary sewer costs, both municipal and regional, were covered completely by property taxes. Since 2004, municipal sewer costs and new regional sewer debt have been funded through a user fee based on water consumption.
“Council has agreed to proceed with the established policy, which means the users will still pay based on water consumption,” said mayor Nils Jensen.
To adjust to the rising costs of new regional projects, specifically the CRD’s $783 million treatment facility, council also had the option of putting all the CRD sewer costs on the utility bill (which would include pre-2004 debt), or changing the percentage covered by a consumption charge – in 2004, for example, that charge came in at 70 per cent, then rose to 100 per cent. Currently, pre-2004 sewage debt and other costs are still collected through property taxes.
“As the costs relating to the sewage treatment plant ramp up, the cost per unit will increase,” said Oak Bay treasurer Patricia Walker. “That’s just what we have to expect.”