New year, same water rate increases for Hamilton residents

News Jan 15, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 It may be a new year, but Hamilton politicians approved Jan 15 another increase in the water and wastewater rates for 2015.

The average homeowner is projected to pay an extra $24, or a 4.2 per cent increase in their water and wastewater bill this year. That will mean paying $601.20 on average this year from last year’s $577.10 bill from the city.

This year’s water rate increase is about the same as what has been approved by council over the last five years, averaging about four per cent annually. For the last 10 years, the average rate increase has been 5.70 per cent. Meanwhile, the cost for homeowners that don’t have meters, they will pay $961.60 annual for both water and wastewater services.

Politicians did delay adding nearly seven full-time employees at a cost of $707, 000 to the water and wastewater department.

Dan McKinnon, director of water and wastewater for the city, acknowledged they remain short staffed, with some employees doing two jobs, including him.

Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, who orchestrated the motion to delay hiring at least three new positions by at least April when the budget is scheduled to be approved, said while he is sympathetic to staff’s issues, he had a problem with adding more people to the city.

“I want to support the water director,” saidJackson. “I’m good with 4.2 per cent. But let’s park the (FTE). I am strongly supportive of the top three positions.”

Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, while backing the higher water and wastewater rate, was equally skittish about hiring more staff.

“There is a tsunami of requests coming from staff (this year),” said Collins, referring to the upcoming budget deliberations. “I haven’t seen that for a decade.”

McKinnon said he can wait over the next three to four months to begin hiring the new staff.

The water and wastewater increase, said staff, is due to the higher amount of investment in infrastructure that will be needed over the next decade. From 2015 to 2024, the city will have to spend $1.6 billion in repairs and maintenance costs, an increase of $0.1 billion from last year’s 10-year projection plan.

The 2015 operating budget is about $184 million, an increase from 2014 of 2.7 per cent or $5 million.

But city staff point outHamilton’s water consumption has dropped, which is hurting needed revenues. In 2014, revenues had been projected to reach $165 million, but it is expected the actual revenue will be $3.9 million under budget. City staff is projecting to lower their consumption budget for 2015 by about 1.8 per cent, a prudent course since residential water usage has dropped over the last decade.

New year, same water rate increases for Hamilton residents

News Jan 15, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 It may be a new year, but Hamilton politicians approved Jan 15 another increase in the water and wastewater rates for 2015.

The average homeowner is projected to pay an extra $24, or a 4.2 per cent increase in their water and wastewater bill this year. That will mean paying $601.20 on average this year from last year’s $577.10 bill from the city.

This year’s water rate increase is about the same as what has been approved by council over the last five years, averaging about four per cent annually. For the last 10 years, the average rate increase has been 5.70 per cent. Meanwhile, the cost for homeowners that don’t have meters, they will pay $961.60 annual for both water and wastewater services.

Politicians did delay adding nearly seven full-time employees at a cost of $707, 000 to the water and wastewater department.

Dan McKinnon, director of water and wastewater for the city, acknowledged they remain short staffed, with some employees doing two jobs, including him.

Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, who orchestrated the motion to delay hiring at least three new positions by at least April when the budget is scheduled to be approved, said while he is sympathetic to staff’s issues, he had a problem with adding more people to the city.

“I want to support the water director,” saidJackson. “I’m good with 4.2 per cent. But let’s park the (FTE). I am strongly supportive of the top three positions.”

Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, while backing the higher water and wastewater rate, was equally skittish about hiring more staff.

“There is a tsunami of requests coming from staff (this year),” said Collins, referring to the upcoming budget deliberations. “I haven’t seen that for a decade.”

McKinnon said he can wait over the next three to four months to begin hiring the new staff.

The water and wastewater increase, said staff, is due to the higher amount of investment in infrastructure that will be needed over the next decade. From 2015 to 2024, the city will have to spend $1.6 billion in repairs and maintenance costs, an increase of $0.1 billion from last year’s 10-year projection plan.

The 2015 operating budget is about $184 million, an increase from 2014 of 2.7 per cent or $5 million.

But city staff point outHamilton’s water consumption has dropped, which is hurting needed revenues. In 2014, revenues had been projected to reach $165 million, but it is expected the actual revenue will be $3.9 million under budget. City staff is projecting to lower their consumption budget for 2015 by about 1.8 per cent, a prudent course since residential water usage has dropped over the last decade.

New year, same water rate increases for Hamilton residents

News Jan 15, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 It may be a new year, but Hamilton politicians approved Jan 15 another increase in the water and wastewater rates for 2015.

The average homeowner is projected to pay an extra $24, or a 4.2 per cent increase in their water and wastewater bill this year. That will mean paying $601.20 on average this year from last year’s $577.10 bill from the city.

This year’s water rate increase is about the same as what has been approved by council over the last five years, averaging about four per cent annually. For the last 10 years, the average rate increase has been 5.70 per cent. Meanwhile, the cost for homeowners that don’t have meters, they will pay $961.60 annual for both water and wastewater services.

Politicians did delay adding nearly seven full-time employees at a cost of $707, 000 to the water and wastewater department.

Dan McKinnon, director of water and wastewater for the city, acknowledged they remain short staffed, with some employees doing two jobs, including him.

Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, who orchestrated the motion to delay hiring at least three new positions by at least April when the budget is scheduled to be approved, said while he is sympathetic to staff’s issues, he had a problem with adding more people to the city.

“I want to support the water director,” saidJackson. “I’m good with 4.2 per cent. But let’s park the (FTE). I am strongly supportive of the top three positions.”

Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, while backing the higher water and wastewater rate, was equally skittish about hiring more staff.

“There is a tsunami of requests coming from staff (this year),” said Collins, referring to the upcoming budget deliberations. “I haven’t seen that for a decade.”

McKinnon said he can wait over the next three to four months to begin hiring the new staff.

The water and wastewater increase, said staff, is due to the higher amount of investment in infrastructure that will be needed over the next decade. From 2015 to 2024, the city will have to spend $1.6 billion in repairs and maintenance costs, an increase of $0.1 billion from last year’s 10-year projection plan.

The 2015 operating budget is about $184 million, an increase from 2014 of 2.7 per cent or $5 million.

But city staff point outHamilton’s water consumption has dropped, which is hurting needed revenues. In 2014, revenues had been projected to reach $165 million, but it is expected the actual revenue will be $3.9 million under budget. City staff is projecting to lower their consumption budget for 2015 by about 1.8 per cent, a prudent course since residential water usage has dropped over the last decade.