Hike funding

the City of Brandon proposes a water rate hike; financing of capital projects

The water flowing from your taps is becoming more and more expensive.

As inflation continues to drive up the cost of living, the City of Brandon has proposed an increase in water and sewage service rates.

“Treatment systems are very capital intensive, very expensive, and unfortunately that comes with significant tariffs that are required to pay for these systems,” says Dean Hammond, General Manager of Business Services for the City of Brandon.

The rate increases that were voted in favor at Monday’s Brandon City Council meeting are necessary, Hammond said, to cover general operating costs and support capital projects.

“We are doing major projects in the city,” Hammond says, “including the $125 million upgrade to the water treatment plant, as well as building a lift station around the corner. southwest of the city.”

City Council also voted to borrow $30 million for proposed lift stations that would be located along Patricia Avenue in the south end of town, one at 34th Street and one at 18th street.

The first rate increase would be in July 2023, with water rates rising from $1.66 to $2.15. Wastewater would go from $1.63 to $2.00. Annual increases in January from 2024 to 2026 would push rates up to $6.11 for the two utilities combined.

Annual totals based on household consumption of 46 cubic meters of water would also double by 2026, from the current annual total of $675 to $1,211.

Hammond says the city’s proposed rates are in line with rates in the Prairie provinces, underscoring that water is a valuable resource. “We must treat it as such, both when we consume it and remove it from the river, as well as when we put it back into the river.”

Some taxpayers are unhappy with the rate hike.

“It’s not something the people of Brandon need right now,” said Mike Hildebrand. “Everything goes up when is it going to end?”

“The city doesn’t make any money except from taxpayers, does it?” said Larry Devries. “It doesn’t matter what you do, the taxpayer, the person who pays for it.”

The tariffs still need to be reviewed and approved by the Public Utilities Commission before taking effect.