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Increase in utility rates one step closer to reality

The 2021 utility rate hikes will see waterworks and sanitary sewer utilities increase by two per cent each for a total of four per cent, effective Monday, Feb. 1
City hall summer
City hall was built between 1912 and 1914. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

It’s a new year and taxpayers can soon expect another hike in their water and sewer utility bills.

During the Jan. 11 regular meeting, city council gave three readings to a bylaw amendment to implement the new tax hikes in the water and sewer utilities. The 2021 utility rate hikes will see waterworks and sanitary sewer utilities increase by two per cent each for a total of four per cent, effective Monday, Feb. 1.

With water, the average household will pay $833.91 this year compared to $817.56 last year. This is an extra $16.35 per year or $1.36 per month. With sewer, that household will pay $668.43 this year compared to $655.32 last year. This is an extra $13.11 per year or $1.09 per month.

In total, the average taxpayer will pay $29.46 per year or $2.45 per month in combined utilities.

However, the three bylaw readings were not unanimous — councillors Crystal Froese and Dawn Luhning were opposed each time — so the amendment will need to be approved during the Jan. 25 council meeting to become official.

The bylaw amendment also proposes to reduce how much the City of Moose Jaw charges SaskWater for external water user rate compared to what the municipality charges in-city water users. SaskWater is currently paying $3.1396 per cubic metre, but after the change kicks in, the Crown corporation will pay $2.6687 per cubic metre.

Meanwhile, commencing Feb. 1, in-town water users will pay $1.4233 per cubic metre of water, out-of-town water consumers will pay $3.2024 per cubic metre of water, and 15 Wing Air Base will pay $2.1350 per cubic metre of water.

The municipality is charging SaskWater less money since the Crown corporation contributed more money to a joint project to upgrade geothermal wells that support Temple Gardens Mineral Spa.

Zoning amendment

Council gave three unanimous readings to a zoning bylaw amendment to rezone 319 Caribou Street West to C1 neighbourhood commercial district from R2 medium-density residential district to accommodate a hair salon and massage therapy business in the building.

Coun. Heather Eby recused herself from the vote since she co-owns the building with her husband and because her daughters plan to establish their respective businesses in the building.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Jan. 25.