The City of Armstrong continues to look at saving its residents money on water rates.
Council asked staff in November, when the final round of mock water bills were sent out, to analyze the effects of a rate structure that would allow for more water usage in the spring and summer, and less in the fall and winter. The desired effect was to provide a benefit for the many gardeners in the community.
Staff presented council with the current rate structure and two options, both of which include a 1.5 per cent inflationary increase which amounts to $1.68 for the average household for the year.
“All three structures continue to allow for 360 cubic meters of consumption at the lowest rate tier for both billing periods combined,” said city chief financial officer Terry Martens.
There are about 1,860 homes in the community.
Council’s suggested option calls for an additional 60 cubic meters of consumption at the lowest tier n the spring/summer and a corresponding reduction of 60 cubic meters at the lowest tier in fall and winter.
With this option, about 525 homes would see a benefit of varying amounts for spring/summer based on past records. Total savings would be around $8,000 which also means lost revenue for the city.
About 275 homes would see a slight increase in charges for the fall/winter period.
“The net effect for the entire year would be around $5,000 in savings to residents,” said Martens, adding there would be a 1.8 per cent loss of residential water revenue.
The option council unanimously approved is considered a compromise between the current structure and the first option.
It allows for 40 cubic meters of consumption at the lowest tier in spring/summer and a reduction of 40 cubic meters in fall/winter.
About 540 homes would see reduced charges in the spring/summer totalling around $5,600. For fall/winter, nearly 200 homes would see increased charges totalling around 41,900 with a net reduction for the entire year of $3,700, which is a 1.3 per cent revenue loss for the city.
“It should be made clear that the vast majority of residents would not be affected at all by either option due to the fact that average consumption for both billing periods fall under the maximum consumption allowed in the lowest tier in the current rate structure,” said Martens.
Added Coun. Shirley Fowler: “Option two is a very fair way to go. We used to pay an average of $155 per year for water. The average, under option two, will be $113.83. That’s quite a difference compared to $155.”
The planned change is scheduled to go into effect in time for the next billing period April 1.