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News Release

Regional Council approves 2017 water and sewer user rates

WHITBY, ON December 15, 2016

Durham Regional Council has approved the 2017 water and sanitary sewer user rates, with a combined increase of 3.6 per cent, or $2.64 per month ($31.72 per year) for the average Durham Region household.

“Durham’s drinking water is fresh, clean and low cost, and still only pennies a glass,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “However, our municipal water systems are aging, and we need to invest in our infrastructure to protect this precious resource. We want to ensure our residents continue to receive quality drinking water, straight from the tap.”

Infrastructure requires large capital investments in order to meet regulatory, asset management and growth-related services. User rates are the main source of funding for capital investments for rehabilitation and replacement, often complemented by Regional development charges.

“A number of key, long-standing financial policies—related to capital financing—have been adopted to mitigate potential risks facing the Region,” said Councillor Bob Chapman, Chair of Finance & Administration. “As a result of our strict observance of these policies, the Region has received the highest bond ratings, as well as the financial flexibility to address unexpected capital expenditures and provide for growth.”

In 2016, the Region completed two significant capital projects: the Port Darlington Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) in Bowmanville and the Nonquon River WPCP in Port Perry. From 2017 to 2026, debt financing requirements are projected to include upgrades and replacement projects at the Duffin Creek WPCP in Pickering, in addition to expansion projects at the Newcastle, Whitby, Ajax and Bowmanville water supply plants.

“The 2017 capital budgets will help to address critical requirements for the water and sanitary sewerage infrastructure network, while investing in new infrastructure to address anticipated growth,” said Nester Pidwerbecki, Chair of Works. “It is also important for the Region to invest in infrastructure that supports climate change and adaptation initiatives.”

In addition to the funding of capital projects, the rate increases will help to cover operating costs (expected to rise due to economic and inflationary increases in utilities, chemicals and supplies); infrastructure (large capital investments in order to meet regulatory, asset management and growth-related requirements); and debt repayment costs (specifically related to the Courtice WPCP).

While the rates are increasing, it is important to note that Durham Region still offers some of the lowest rates in the province. Of 13 larger municipalities surveyed across Ontario, the 2016 water and sewer charges are below average and are the fifth lowest in the province. These rates are set for residential, non-residential, small- to medium-sized ICI water users and large water users.

The Region’s water and sanitary sewer rates are reviewed annually and recommendations are made to Regional Council in December. The approved user rates take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

For more information on Durham Region’s water and sewer user rate increases, visit www.durham.ca/watervalue. For more information about water billing, visit www.durham.ca/waterbilling.   

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