Wise water use results in lower than expected rate increase

Conservation and efficiency are the most cost effective ways to preserve water supply

GUELPH, ON, October 25, 2012 – City Council committed to renewing the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure and improving how Guelph administers the Ontario Building Code and Provincial Offences Court by approving the $82.8 million operating and capital budget last evening.

Water and Wastewater Services

Next year, water and wastewater rates will increase by eight per cent rather than the 10 per cent hike previously estimated in the City’s 2006 Water Supply Master Plan.

“By using water wisely, we are able to postpone costly infrastructure upgrades, which results in a lower than expected rate increase,” said Janet Laird, Executive Director of Planning, Building Engineering and Environment. “More than 96 per cent of the budget covers the cost of day-to-day operations to ensure a safe, clean and reliable water supply, and the funds we need to set aside to maintain, replace and build new infrastructure as Guelph continues to grow.”

Conservation and efficiency programs account for three point four per cent of Guelph’s water and wastewater services budget. Since 2006 Guelph’s $4.2 million investment in water conservation and efficiency programs has reclaimed close to 3.7 million litres of water and wastewater capacity per day. The cost to build new infrastructure to supply and treat this much water would be about $14.7 million.

By investing $20 million in water conservation and efficiency initiatives over 10 years, the City can avoid spending $85 million on new water and wastewater infrastructure between now and 2031.

The following water and wastewater rate changes will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Proposed water/wastewater charges
Proposed Charges 2012 2013 Change
water volume – $/cubic metre (m3) $1.30 $1.38 $0.08
water basic – $/day $0.22 $0.24 $0.02
wastewater volume – $/cubic metre (m3) $1.41 $1.52 $0.11
wastewater basic – $/day $0.30 $0.31 $0.01

The average residential annual bill (based on 200 cubic metres consumption, the estimated annual volume consumed by a family of 3) will go up by $58 or 8.0%.

Water Services’ $24.6 million operating budget reflects increasing energy costs and contributions to reserve funds for future infrastructure upgrades. To meet provincial wastewater treatment regulations, Council approved a Wastewater Services operating budget of $26.9 million and the combined capital budget for Water and Wastewater Services was approved at $24.7 million.

Learn about Guelph’s water and wastewater rates

Ontario Building Code Administration

To improve turnaround times for building permits and inspections in Guelph, Council approved $2.8 million operating budget and a capital investment of $9,000 to enhance the City’s integrated electronic building permit, inspection and licensing system.

Provincial Offences Court

Improved fine collection systems preserve the integrity of court decisions and increased fine revenues are expected in next year’s $3.6 million operating budget. Ongoing building maintenance and upgrades to information technology systems are included in next year’s $77,900 capital budget.

The 2013 enterprise-funded operating and capital budgets are the first to be approved by City Council and align the City’s investments with its strategic plan “Our City, Our Future” to deliver public services better and build a thriving future for Guelph.

Guelph’s tax-supported operating budget will be presented to Council on Thursday, November 22. The local boards and shared services budget (Guelph Public Library Board, Public Health, Social Services and Social Housing, Downtown Guelph Business Association and Guelph Police Services Board) will be presented on Tuesday, November 27.

Community members are welcome to attend all budget presentations, and registered delegations may address Council on Thursday, November 29. Council will deliberate and vote on tax-supported operating and capital budgets on Wednesday, December 5.

View all budget documents and reports at guelph.ca/budget.

For more information

[one_half]Al Horsman
executive director/chief financial officer
Finance and Enterprise Services
T 519-822-1260 x 5606
E al.horsman@guelph.ca [/one_half]

[one_half_last]Water and Wastewater Services
Janet Laird
executive director
Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment
T 519-822-1260 x 2237
E janet.laird@guelph.ca [/one_half_last]
[one_half]Ontario Building Code Administration
Bruce Poole
general manager/chief building official
Building Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2375
E bruce.poole@guelph.ca [/one_half]

[one_half_last]Provincial Offences Court
Brad Coutts
Court Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2909
E brad.coutts@guelph.ca [/one_half_last]