Water, sewer fees jump by 3.28 per cent in 2013

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Water and sewer

City council voted Tuesday afternoon to hike your water and sewer rates next year - and also issued a warning that more of the same is likely in the years to come.

Councillors approved a 3.28 per cent water and sewer increase, which will mean you'll have to spend in the neighbourhood of $20 more in 2013, depending on the amenities your home has, including the number of faucets and bathrooms on the property, and whether or not you have a pool.

Councillors and city administrators pointed out that with a massive secondary waste water treatment facility currently under construction in Cornwall's east end, the likelihood of increased fees in the future - beginning in 2014 - is almost guaranteed as the municipality will have to begin paying off its portion of the $55-million project.

"We're going into a very difficult time," said Coun. Denis Carr, referring to budget pressures that will also be felt on the property tax ledger. "The more advance notice we can give (taxpayers)...the better."

Councillors were also told by infrastructure manager Norm Levac that the city is falling behind on the improvements it is making to it water and sewer facilities.

While the city should be replacing some three kilometres of water works infrastructure per year, it only does 1.5 km.

"Going forward this is going to catch up with us," warned Coun. Bernadette Clement. "But for now this is  an appropriate budget."

The 2013 water/sewer increase is being largely driven by capital costs associated with improvements or repairs to the city's water works.

There's a little more than $2.8 million worth of capital projects for the city's water distribution system in 2013, on top of $3.2 million in sewer committments.

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