With still no word to residents on how much the City of White Rock agreed to spend to buy its water utility last month, council has given preliminary approval to a $1-million boost to its 2015 water utility capital budget.
The move, which received first, second and third reading Monday, increases the budget to $15,284,000, and is “to ensure that the city has adequate expenditure authority to pay for capital projects related to the water utility to the end of this year,” Sandra Kurylo, the city’s director of financial services, told council.
Expenses cited in Kurylo’s report include an acquisition advance payment, upgrades to the Tempest system for billing purposes and the purchase of vehicles for the utility’s operation.
The change will not increase water rates, Mayor Wayne Baldwin told Peace Arch News.
“We’re actually going to be lowering the rates,” Baldwin said Tuesday.
The amendment also enables expenditures related to replacement of the Merklin Street water reservoir.
Council also approved the award of that $3.8-million contract Monday.
The work – awarded to Graham Infrastructure LP – is Phase 2 of the Total Water Quality Management project that was initiated by Epcor in 2012 to address operating-permit conditions imposed by Fraser Health in the wake of contamination that led to a boil-water advisory in 2010.
Anticipated to get underway next month, once Phase 1 work on the Oxford site is operational, it’s to include demolition of the high reservoir, and construction and commissioning of a water-treatment plant and new reservoir.
The contract cost and financial-plan amendment are among few financial details that have been shared by the city since the purchase agreement with Epcor and subsequent acquisition, the latter on Oct. 30.
City manager Dan Bottrill said last week that “confidentiality provisions” prevented release of the information, but that it would be disclosed “as soon as we’re able to.”
Baldwin told PAN that Epcor on Monday provided some information regarding what can be released, however, he deferred to Bottrill to share specifics. Bottrill was not available to comment by PAN press deadline Tuesday.
In council, Kurylo noted the public will have an opportunity to comment on the financial-plan amendment prior to approval.