The average Metro Vancouver household will pay $427 in user fees and taxes to the regional district next year – an extra $5 – as a result of rising utility costs.
The increase was approved by the Metro board Friday and the actual household impact varies somewhat by community because of different apportionment of sewage treatment upgrade costs.
The regional district’s average charge is based on a home assessed at $715,000 and will be added to 2015 property tax bills along with municipal, school and TransLink taxes.
Metro Vancouver’s $659 million operating budget for 2015 is up 0.8 per cent.
About two thirds of all spending goes to running the drinking water and sewage treatment systems.
Garbage tipping fees will go up $1 to $109 per tonne, but the actual charge to the average household is expected to be flat or slightly lower as a result of increased recycling and less overall disposal of garbage.
However, the regional district is forecasting a $4.4 million shortfall on its waste services next year as a result of the provincial government’s rejection of Metro’s ban on hauling waste out of region.
Each additional truckload of garbage hauled out of the region to take advantage of cheaper disposal alternatives means less tipping fees collected by Metro.
The drop in revenue next year will come out of a $10 million reserve fund, but board chair Greg Moore said that fund will have to be replenished.
The budget includes $7 million to advance Metro’s plan to build a new waste-to-energy plant, despite increased uncertainty as to its viability. Nearly $12 million will also be spent on upgrades at the existing incinerator in Burnaby.
Much of the increased spending is to maintain, upgrade and expand the drinking water and sewage systems.
Major projects that continue in 2015 include a big expansion of the Annacis Island sewage treatment plant and seismic upgrades to the drinking water supply system, including a new $240-million water supply tunnel under the Fraser River to supply growing areas of Surrey and Langley.