Water and waste rates to double for residents of Ontario over the next year – Daily bulletin
Residents of Ontario will be hit by a double increase in tariffs for water and garbage collection starting next month and again in summer 2022, as part of an adopted income catch-up plan unanimously by the city council Tuesday evening September 7.
The higher rates came after the city received 132 written objections, well below the number required by state law to block the rate increases that will be implemented by the Ontario Municipal Utility Co., the municipal service responsible for providing these services. Sewer / wastewater connection charges will not increase.
“Our electricity has just gone up. The idea that our water bills are going up is very frustrating and stressful for many of us, especially the older community, ”said Mireya Cano, an Ontario resident speaking at the public hearing. before the council vote on Tuesday.
Starting October 1, the average residential water bill will increase 3.6%, or about $ 2.51 per month, from $ 68.97 per month to $ 71.48 per month. The second round starting July 1, 2022 will increase rates by 5%, or about $ 3.67 per month, with the average residential bill rising to $ 75.15 per month, according to the staff report.
Waste rates will increase by about $ 8 per month or about $ 96 per year.
The first increase, effective October 1, will add $ 4.04 per month, pushing the monthly garbage collection bill for the average residential customer from $ 27.68 to $ 31.72. Then, on July 1, 2022, bills will increase by an additional $ 4.03 per month, bringing the monthly bill to $ 35.75 for the average residential customer, according to the staff report.
The additional money collected from water customers will be used to pay for the higher cost of purchasing imported water, repairing infrastructure and treating water. The increased water bill only pays the cost of providing the service and does not put money into the city’s general fund, City Manager Scott Ochoa said.
“We have not had an increase in tariffs for water, sewer or garbage since 2017,” Ochoa said at the meeting, despite an increase of around 2% per year in the price index. consumption over the past four years. The price of electricity plays a role in tariffs, as electric pumps are used to move water, he said.
After hearing some speakers say that the increase in water and waste tariffs during the coronavirus pandemic is embarrassing because many residents are behind on their rent or are still looking for a job, some members of the city council expressed empathy.
“I too am frustrated, I love my garden and I do a lot of gardening; it brings me great joy. I’m really sorry to pass these kinds of rate increases on to everyone, ”said City Councilor Debra Dorst-Porada.
Mayor Paul Leon said the city’s public service should be self-financing. Regarding water tariffs, the current drought has increased the price of imported water, he said. Plus, the 130-year-old town has at least as old water and sewer lines that need to be fixed and updated.
“I don’t disagree with your frustration with the rising costs,” he said.
All aspects of garbage collection, including transportation, landfill disposal and recycling, cost more, Ochoa said. One of the reasons is the rising cost of fuel that feeds the city’s garbage trucks. Another is stricter state regulations forcing cities to recycle food waste for the first time. Ochoa said a pilot food and organic waste recycling program will begin in late fall and early winter.
City councilor Ruben Valencia said the water rate changes would affect him as well, as he lives on half an acre of land and owns horses. “The state continues to add new regulations. We have to clean up this water at higher and higher degrees and it is not cheap, ”he said.
Ochoa said that compared to other neighboring towns, Ontario is “in the middle of the pack” for water rates and in the top third for sewer rates. He couldn’t compare waste rates because most other cities outsource, while Ontario has their own garbage truck drivers.
“Our residents love the integrated waste management program we have and they love our drivers,” he added in an interview.