Thompson residents with concerns or comments about the city’s proposed new water rates for 2021 have until April 24 to submit them via the Public Utilities Board of Manitoba (PUB) website at www.pubmanitoba.ca.
City council approved second reading of the water and wastewater rates bylaw at their March 15 meeting by a vote of 5-3.
City manager Anthony McInnis said council was directed to proceed to second reading by the Public Utilities Board of Manitoba (PUB), which is ultimately responsible for establishing the water and sewer rates. Between first and second reading, the PUB recalculated the numbers submitted by the city after first reading last November and requested some minor changes in the costs listed in the bylaw.
The changes did not affect the water and sewer rates of $3.81 and $1.79, respectively, or the quarterly service charge of $22.20 per water meter, but did raise the minimum quarterly charge for customers with 15 millimetre water lines, which includes 14 cubic metres of water, to $100.60 from $100.53. For customers with 20 to 150 mm water lines, the minimum quarterly charges have increased between 13 cents and $11.73. The changes are a result of adjustments to the commodity water and wastewater charges included in the minimum quarterly charges.
Deputy mayor Duncan Wong, who chaired the March 15 meeting in Mayor Colleen Smook’s absence, asked for a recorded vote and was opposed to second reading along with councillors Jeff Fountain and Earl Colbourne. Councillors Les Ellsworth, Andre Proulx, Braden McMurdo, Brian Lundmark and Kathy Valentino voted in favour.
After April 24, the PUB will decide if any further notice to the public of the proposed rates is required and whether to proceed with a public hearing or paper review process before issuing a rate order. All comments received by the board will be considered in the board’s decision on rates to be changed. The PUB can order the utility to charge rates that are the same, lower or higher than those requested by the city’s water utility.