Hay River residents will pay a little more for water next year after Hay River Town Council approved a plan Monday to increase water rates for all residents next year – the first increase since 2006.
Piped water users will see their water rate increase from $16.74 per 1,000 gallons to $20,24 per 1,000 gallons.
Vale Island residents will see their water rates increase from $25,28 per 1,000 gallons to $38,77 – an increase of $13,49 per 1,000 gallons.
Corridor residents will now pay $45,74 per 1,000 gallons, up from the current $23,35 – an increase of $22,39 per 1,000 gallons.
The increase will cover a deficit of $347,998,00 in the town’s utility operating fund.
Councillor Ken Latour asked council to consider other options.
Councillor Andrew Cassidy, a Corridor resident, raised issues with the plan, which would increase those rates by 96 per cent.
“We’re a little bit concerned about that”, he said during a lively debate.
Mayor Kelly Schofield said he was not willing to have residents on piped water subsidize those whose water was trucked in.
“I’m a firm believer that you pay for what you use,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Mike Maher agreed.
“We have to be realistic – there’s a cost to delivering services”, he reminded council.
Town administration had originally provided three options for recovering the deficit in the utility operating fund. These included increasing the Access Fee by $15 per month for all users plus an increase in the cost of delivery for trucked water users; an Access Fee increase of $10 per month for all users, plus a water rate increase of $1.10 per 1,000 gallons plus a delivery cost increase for those on trucked water; and the approved option, which increases the water rate by $3.50 for all suers while increasing the cost of delivery for water truck users.
Councillors Bernie Langille, Reiss Kruger, Mike Maher and Bernard Duek voted in favour of the proposed water hike, while councillors Andrew Cassidy, Kevin Wallington and Ken Latour voted against it.
Councillor Dawna O’Brien was absent from Monday’s meeting.