Surrey city council voted Monday to increase the sewer utility rate charge.
The current rate is based on 80 per cent of a dwelling’s water consumption, set in the 1990s based on Annacis Island Secondary Treatment Plant’s sewage flows. Council voted to adjust that to 88 per cent, effective Jan. 1, 2022, because of an increase in sewage flow over the past 30 years. At the same time, outdoor water consumption has decreased because of watering restrictions, increasing the ratio of sewage “produced” to water consumed, Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering explained.
Councillors Steven Pettigrew and Linda Annis voted against the increase.
“When I looked at what the impact would have been this year on my utility bill, it would have gone up 9.9 per cent and I just don’t feel at this point in time that we can be raising more taxes,” Annis told council.
Fleetwood resident Richard Landale says the impact on his single family home, which is metered, “will be approximately $32 annually.”
Neuman told council Surrey’s sanitary sewer system is “constrained and underfunded.”
“The rate hasn’t been adjusted for 30 years so we’re trying to amend it,” he said.
Neuman added this will be done over four years, “so it’s not a 10 per cent factor per year, it’s 2.5 per cent for the first year. Just to put it in a bit of perspective, it’s about $9.80 for a single family house for a year.”