2019 Water & Wastewater Budget Approved

By Kirk Winter

At the Special Council meeting on January 23, 2019 the 2019 Operational Budget for water and wastewater was approved unanimously.

The CKL is responsible for 21 drinking water systems, 6 wastewater systems, and 36 community wells.

The City has sub-contracted to Aqua 20 of the 21 drinking water systems and all of the wastewater systems. The drinking water system in Lindsay is the only water directly managed by CKL.

Staff shared some basic background with Council stating that 86 percent of the budget for water and wastewater is made up of operational costs. The systems as a whole passed Ministry of the Environment inspections recently, and were re-certified again for 2019. The system as a whole is looking for efficiencies moving forward, particularly in the automation of filtration systems in Lindsay.

The capital budget is the largest ever requested in CKL history. The Water Board requested $9.5 million from the City, with $8.4 million of that going to replacement and renewal projects.

The major cost for 2019 will be replacing cast iron pipes, particularly in Lindsay, which will cost over $3 million. Another $2.1 million will be spent on the Russell and Peel Street renewal projects. The Fenelon Falls Water Treatment plant has been earmarked $1.4 million to keep the plant operating to Provincial standards. Another $500,000 will be spent on the Colborne Street/Rivera Pumping Station to finally complete that multi-year project.

Water Board staff is hopeful that improvements in Fenelon Falls, and the completion of the Rivera facility, will allow development to move forward in both of those communities.

Deputy Mayor Elmslie asked staff if the increase for bulk water rates of 30 percent was still going forward and had been factored into the budget for the Water Board.

Staff responded that bulk water rates charged to water haulers will be going up 30 percent in 2019, and that the increase was necessary to cover the costs of the stations used by the bulk water haulers.

Elmslie continued his line of questioning asking when the separate “water levy” charge was going to disappear from consumer’s bills, as typically “levy” is for a short time only.

Staff was not familiar with the “levy” designation, and promised the Deputy Mayor that they would investigate and report back to Council.

Councillor Dunn questioned a line item for $226,000 that was set aside for “studies”. Dunn wanted to know what this money was being spent on, and was informed that the money was ear-marked for research to improve the system and to improve regulatory compliance. Dunn pushed Staff asking directly if any of that funding was being used to coerce residents into hooking up to existing City systems anywhere in CKL. Staff responded that none of that line item was being used for that purpose.

Councillor O’Reilly wanted to know the completion date for the Rivera Pumping station. Staff shared that they were “testing” the station as Council met, and with some minor tweaking the station could be pumping within 14 days.

Council unanimously passed the Water and Wastewater budget without changes.

City HallDeb Crossen