Budget shortfall could result in hefty increase in fees for Okanagan Falls sewer system ratepayers - InfoNews

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Budget shortfall could result in hefty increase in fees for Okanagan Falls sewer system ratepayers

FILE PHOTO - The Okanagan Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant is pictured in this file photo. Okanagan Falls sewer costs ran into a deficit position in 2016.
February 16, 2017 - 7:15 PM

PENTICTON - Okanagan Falls sewer system's ratepayers could see a big increase in annual fees after falling into deficit in 2016.

The regional district board was provided with an update of 2016 budget variances at the Thursday, Feb. 16 corporate services committee meeting.

Acting finance manager Noelle Evans-MacEwan told the board an anticipated surplus with the Okanagan Falls sewer service of $100,000 turned into a $50,000 deficit due to higher than anticipated operating costs for hauling and disposal of solids.

The 2017 budget will have to be amended as a result, with a proposal to use mitigation measures that includes gas tax funds, reserve funds and an increase in user fees.

Regional district staff recommend an increase in user fees from $747 annually to $890 over three years for a single family residence.

Bill Newell expressed disappointment in the Okanagan Falls sewer service deficit, noting the proposed fee increase was excessive.

Alternate director for Area D Tom Styffe said other options are being looked at.

On a more positive note, building permit revenues in the regional district soared last year, the report shows.

Building permit fees exceeded estimates by $182,000 in 2016, coming in at $674,000 against anticipated revenues of $492,000.

Landfills in Oliver and Keremeos are expected to finish 2016 with surpluses of approximately $50,000 and $40,000 respectively. The Oliver surplus comes from prior year’s surpluses, while in Keremeos recycling and tipping fee revenues exceeded budget expectations.

The Princeton landfill is expected to show a deficit of $29,000, due to increased contract obligation with the Town of Princeton.

Tipping fees at Campbell Mountain could exceed budget forecasts by $300,000, along with user fees that have exceeded budget expectations by $235,000. The surpluses will likely go to supplement environmental and closure costs at the landfill.

Evans-MacEwan said surplus revenues for 2016 are expected to be approximately $180,000.

Surplus money has historically been placed into deferred revenue accounts to sustain the service in slower growth years, she said.

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