Uncertainty over larger storm events and the need to stay on top of aging infrastructure are among the issues the public is being asked to take into consideration when giving input into a proposed new utility fee.
Residents are asked to give their feedback to a plan to create a separate utility fee to manage drainage from snow and rainwater.
The proposed rate structure is based on a tiered framework, where properties are charged according to their amount of impervious (or hard) surface area, such as driveways, roofs and parking lots. The average single-family home has about 313 square metres of impervious area, as measured by the consultants at AECOM. That base rate would be about $85.20 per year, with properties categorized as small charged $57.74 and large properties $116.22. Non-residential properties would be charged the average rate of $85.20 per 313 square metres of non-impervious area.
Residential properties would pay about 52 per cent of the utility, which is projected to need an average of $3.8 million per year over five years to cover all expenses including operating, capital and reinvestment costs.
One of the advantages of having a separate fund outside of the general tax levy is there's an element of transparency, said AECOM project manager Nancy Hill. "There's no sense of, 'where are my tax dollars going?'" she said.
Roughly 80 per cent of homes are considered to fall into the average category, and the tiered system means small improvements such as adding a shed or a patio isn't likely to move a property into another rate class, said Hill.
Some sites in the city already have mitigation tools, such as tension ponds at UNBC or the casino's infiltration system that takes their storm water and puts it back into the ground.
One of the issues where the team putting together the bylaw for council's approval is looking for input on is whether there should be some sort of rebate system for properties with some kind of system in place and what it should look like, said Gina Layte-Liston, city wastewater collection supervisor.
According to Hill, there are a number of examples of user-rebate programs which take into consideration a variety of tools such as rain gardens, underground infiltration facilities, green grooves, rain barrels and impervious pavements.
If approved by council, $350,000 has been budgeted to implement the system over next year with a bill date effective Jan. 1, 2015.
To give feedback, residents can download a copy of a survey from the city's website or contact Layte-Liston at 250-614-7824 or glaytelis...@city.pg.bc.ca. Layte-Liston can also be contacted by those stakeholders wishing to request a special presentation on the storm water utility initiative.
Information is also available for review on the fifth floor of city hall or either of the city's branches of the public library.
A final report will go before council in December.