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2003 News Releases
Water and sewer rates to rise 53% by 2009

WINNIPEG - November 10, 2003 - Winnipeg residents would pay 53 per cent more for water and sewer services by 2009 under a plan to be discussed Wednesday by the Standing Committee on Public Works.

The sewer rate increase would be 13.9 per cent in January 2004, thefirst year of the plan.

The rate increase is needed to pay for changes ordered earlier this year by the Clean Environment Commission and the Province of Manitoba.

Councillor John Angus, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Public Works, says the proposed rate increase illustrates the need for a New Deal for the city's revenues.

"One of the reasons I support a New Deal is that it suggests a more equitable way to deal with issues like this," Angus said.

Under the City's early New Deal proposal, sewer rates would increase by an estimated 11 per cent initially, with increases adjusted to inflation after that.

"We all want a clean river. We all agree that for the sake of the environment we need to improve the sewer system as recommended by the CEC. We all realize there is a price to pay. The question is: How do we pay for it?" Angus asked.

"Do we pay for it under the Old Deal which doesn't give us many options? Or under a New Deal - whatever its final form might be - that gives us more flexibility to deal with issues like this by finding revenues from sources other than sewer rates? We are asking the province for a New Deal to reduce the huge burden the current system will place on our consumers," Coun. Angus said.

Barry MacBride, Director of the City's Water and Waste Department, says the City needs to spend $451 million over the next 10 years to pay for aggressive improvements to the wastewater treatment system as directed by the Province.

Manitoba Conservation has required the City to accelerate its plan for wastewater treatment, especially the removal of nutrients by 2008.

The department has developed a 10-year plan that will generate this money through annual rate increases.

According to this rate plan, the combined water and sewer rate would increase 54 per cent by 2009. A residential customer with a $508 annual water and sewer bill in 2003 would pay an additional $247 for the same services in 2009. A business customer with a $29,204 annual water and sewer bill in 2003 would pay an additional $18,317 for the same services in 2009.

Under the early New Deal proposal, the City's sewer and water utility would no longer pay property taxes or transfer revenues to the City. The early New Deal proposal also calls for spreading the costs of repair and borrowing over a greater number of years.

Last update: 01.02.2004

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