User Fee Increases Support Long-Term Viability of TNRD Utility Systems

Kamloops, BC – March 7, 2024 – To ensure sustainability of Community Water and Sewer Systems, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Board of Directors has approved user fee increases between 2024 and 2028, as part of several updates to the TNRD Utility Rates Bylaw.

User fees and parcel taxes of each utility system are based on funding levels needed to operate and maintain each Water and Sewer System. Increased user fees were recommended for approval by the Board by the Utility Systems Committee. Changes will come into effect in the second quarter of 2024, and will be reflected in bills sent to customers in July 2024.

“Maintaining tiny utility systems with very small tax bases is a challenge for regional districts, since rural utility systems do not have the same economy of scale benefits as larger, municipal water systems. The TNRD Board continues to advocate to the Province of BC and Government of Canada for financial support of these systems,” said Mike Grenier, Chair of the Utility Systems Committee and Director of Electoral Area “J” (Copper Desert Country). “User rates are based on financial needs for each system. Meeting financial targets will ensure funds are available for maintenance of existing equipment and to leverage grant funding for future capital costs of each system.”

User fee increases in 2024 will vary for each system, based on direction provided by members of the Utility Services Committee. The estimated average annual user fees will range from between $777 and $1,757 for various water and sewer systems.

Customers will be billed the base rate on a quarterly basis, regardless of whether their water is on or off. Base rates fund fixed costs of each water system, and this change in billing will ensure that costs to operate each Community Water System are more evenly distributed among all customers.

Water service can now be turned on or off at no charge once per year for customers, eliminating a $50 fee each time. This change is to encourage seasonal residents to turn off water in winter for vacant property, as required by bylaw, and follows changes to base rate billing.

The Parcel Tax will rise to $250 annually for each Community Water System and Sewer System, excluding the Paul Lake Community Sewer System, which is funded only by a parcel tax. The Paul Lake Sewer System parcel tax will rise from $862 to $969 per year. A parcel tax is in place for each property within a TNRD water or sewer service area to recover capital and operating costs, and this is the first cost increase since the parcel tax was implemented in 2016.

Specific information for each Utility System will be further communicated to customers in the Spring 2024 Waterworks Newsletter, which will be mailed to all customers in April.

About TNRD Community Water and Sewer Systems:

The TNRD owns and operates 11 Community Water Systems, all of which were constructed within communities and later acquired by the TNRD upon request. These water systems range in size, from approximately 16 connections to approximately 325 connections. The TNRD adheres to a Water Conservation Plan for its water systems. Learn more:

The TNRD owns and operates two Community Sewer Systems. The Paul Lake Sewer System was built by the TNRD in 1996 and has approximately 105 connections, while the Pritchard Sewer System was built by the TNRD in 1998 and has approximately 175 connections.

Reserve funds for TNRD utility systems can only be contributed by utility customers, and funds must stay within each system. This results in capital upgrades for small regional district utility systems being heavily reliant on grant funding. The TNRD continues to seek grant opportunities for infrastructure costs of Community Water and Sewer Systems to offset costs for customers, and the TNRD’s Capital Plan guides expected timelines for asset replacement and renewal. Further, in 2023, the TNRD Board earmarked a one-time grant received by the Province of BC worth $5.4 million to support future infrastructure projects that are underfunded, particularly for water and wastewater systems.


Media Contact:

Colton Davies, Communications Manager
Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Tel.: 250 377-6299

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