City water bills rising?

The City of Armstrong is abuzz over a water rate increase.

The Armstrong Community Forum had several posts about the increase in rates, with some defending it and others slamming the hike.

Armstrong CAO Kevin Bertles said there has been an increase, but the city has also changed the way it does billing, which could account for what some perceive as a substantial price jump.

Bertles said some of the base fees have increased due to needed infrastructure improvements to the system.

“Most recently, council has decided to reduce the steepness of those increases and charges. The new council will look at that at their next meeting,” said Bertles.

Bertles said the parcel tax charges used to be part of the property tax bill for water and sewer which was some $300.

“Those were both removed from the property tax bill and put onto utility bills, which is what the nature of the charge actually is for infrastructure for that,” said Bertles. “In 2018, they are actually paying less than in 2017, but the bills are structured differently. Some people are having some difficulty comprehending that.”

However, one change will hit certain people in the pocketbook.

Bertles said when strata owners had a parcel tax, the charge was divided among all of the tenants, but now each unit will be charged as an individual unit.

“Based on that, instead of it being $3 on their water bill it will be whatever the charge is, the same as any other resident would pay. They are being shifted from paying a fraction of what a home owner pays to what a home owner pays” he said. “We fundamentally changed all the rates and we will be putting something on the website that has more detail.”

Bertles said the changes were needed because the North Okanagan community is facing millions of dollars in needed infrastructure upgrades.

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