How the city’s stormwater costs are divvied up among property owners is subject to the consultation.
Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
The city has announced consultations on a new water bill structure, which could include a base fee.
Not enough money is coming into the coffers through water bills to pay for water, waste water and stormwater programs, so the city needs to find a new method to bill customers and feed the $316-million budget for the services.
Properties that receive water bills currently pay for the amount of water they use. The waste water and stormwater fee is charged at 117 per cent of the water consumption. The problem is, as water consumption shrinks, so does the revenue, but maintenance and staff expenses remain.
The city proposes to have a fixed cost on each water bill and the amount would depend on the size of the water meter. Another part of the bill would be tied to consumption, where high-volume users pay higher rates.
More than 45,000 properties are without water meters because they’re on private well and septic systems. That means they aren’t paying for infrastructure to handle stormwater run-off.
The city proposes to charge all residents and businesses a stormwater fee, but how the city’s stormwater costs are divvied up among property owners is subject to the consultation. For example, everyone could pay the same fee or the fee could be based on the property assessment. For residential properties, the fee could also depend on the type of home.
The consultations will happen between March 21 and April 7. The dates, times and locations are listed on the city’s website, along with more information about the proposed changes.