Vernon water meter replacement fee considered

Greater Vernon residents could soon find a new levy on their water bill

Greater Vernon residents could soon find a new levy on their water bill.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is proposing a fee for replacement of water meters.

“We have a lot of old meters in stock and we’re trying to catch up,” said Zee Marcolin, water utility manager.

“We have 4,000 old meters and that’s a big hit for us.”

The levy would be a minimum of $8 per quarter.

The cost to replace a meter depends on the size of the device and it can range from $350 to $5,000.

Marcolin says meters don’t fail but they get less efficient over time.

“They can be 30 to 40 per cent inaccurate. We’re losing revenue because of that.”

Some existing meters are 30 years old and the lifespan is 15 years.

“They should have been replaced years ago,” said Stephen Banmen, Regional District of North Okanagan’s general manager of finance.

GVAC is currently looking at ways to simplify the establishment of water fees.

However, director Bob Spiers suggests the process could identify inequalities.

“Everyone is making out like bandits except for the low-cost user,” he said.

Spiers says a person using 10 cubic metres of water per quarter could see a 12 per cent increase in rates while those using 80 cubic metres would experience a 1.8 per cent hike.

“We must look at the zero to 20 (cubic metres) and make that more fair.”

Staff and other board members insist that Spiers’ concerns will be considered.

 

“We don’t want lower users to pay disproportionately to higher users,” said Juliette Cunningham, chairperson.