Plympton-Wyoming residents are going to see a big change in their water and sewer bills.
How big depends on where you live and how much water you use.
Council is amalgamating the two water systems of the former Plympton Township and the Village of Wyoming. After amalgamation, the systems remained separate with different rates and billing cycles and rules. The duplication was taking a lot of staff time. And in the rural areas, because the billing cycle was so long, it often took a very long time to figure out if there was a water leak.
The municipality was also being forced by the province to fund the water and sewage system by rates alone.
So staff came up with a new system. Seventy per cent of each bill be for the fixed costs of running the water plant; 30 per cent will be based on the amount of water used. The new sewage rate will be fixed rate with a consumption charge as well.
“due to the vast difference between the Plympton and Wyoming systems, the low end water users may experience more of a financial impact,” says David Fielding, director of public works in a report to council. “The high end water users – likely commercial users – may experience a savings. The intent is that the majority of customers in the middle would not see any significant change.”
Residents in Wyoming who don’t use a lot of water will see the largest change. Their bills will go up almost 50 per cent paying an extra $23.83. The same user in Plympton will see their rate drop about $7.
Customers in Wyoming which use a lot of water will see their rates drop about a third – saving about $100 a bill while in Plympton, the rate will go up about 55 per cent by about $70 per bill.
The average customer won’t see as dramatic change – in Wyoming the bills are likely to rise about 10 per cent while Plympton’s average users will see a decrease in their bills of about 13 per cent.
All residents will now get a bill once every two months and any special billing arrangements – including seasonal meters – will be eliminated.
Mayor Lonny Napper says council has been studying the idea for some time and he hasn’t heard from anyone concerned about the changes.
And he says it is time the two water systems merge.
“It has been a long time since we’ve amalgamated, so it is fair to have an equalized rate across the whole municipality.
“The more we can bring ourselves together the better it will be.”
Napper is expecting complaints similar to what happened when the two municipalities merged taxes.
“We did the same thing with the taxes rolled them in together and if I recall right Wyoming had the benefit there…Wyoming’s taxes dropped fairly substantially.”
Napper says the municipality must change the billing of the system so it can maintain the infrastructure it has.
“We have to get some money in reserves to replace these lines – it’s being fiscally responsible.”