Iqaluit water, garbage bills to start rising this January

Water subsidy to disappear by 2021

Iqaluit City Council plans to pass a bylaw amendment on Jan. 8, 2019 to increase fees for city services like water and garbage pickup. Council gave first and second reading to the bylaw on Dec. 11, the last council meeting before the new year. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)

By Courtney Edgar

Iqaluit city council plans to pass a bylaw amendment that would increase the cost of water, garbage and other municipal services starting Jan. 8.

To balance the water fund deficit, city council will slowly shrink a residential water subsidy rate over three years, also starting January 2019.

While the plan had been for the changes to take effect Jan. 1, the bylaw amendments only reached second reading on Dec. 11, the last city council meeting this year.

The amended bylaw is scheduled to be read a third time and passed Jan. 8, so the city says these changes should go into effect as of Jan. 8.

Currently, all residents receive a $0.013 subsidy per litre on the water they use, which is applied to the actual residential water rate of $0.02 that the city charges.

As of Jan. 8, the subsidy applied to residential water rate will become $0.01.

By next July 31, it will fall to $0.008, and in January 2020, the subsidy will be just $0.006.

The subsidy reductions will continue the pattern of reducing the amount by $0.002 each July 31 and Jan, 1 until it reaches zero on July 31, 2021.

When it comes to garbage pick-up in Iqaluit, residents currently pay $38.48 each month but in the new year, it will increase by over $10 to $50.79 a month.

The difference in cost for garbage pick-up will increase for commercial and government buildings.

Right now, businesses and government buildings pay $384.78 per unit for garbage pick-up six days a week—that will increase to $507.91.

If they choose to get a pick-up just twice a week in 2018, it has been $256.52 per unit. That fee will rise to $338.61 in the new year.

The other changes to the fees and charges bylaw are services that have been added to the document, including an official municipal fee.

In emergency services, some added items are: a standby fee of $500 per day, a $75 fee for each search per file when it comes to non-mandated fire inspections, reports or investigations, and a $100 charge per hour for requested fire inspections.

There are also new fees for emergency training services. Rent for the emergency services training centre will now be $500 per day, while renting the outdoor training ground will be $250 per day. Fire apparatus for training purposes will be $400 per day plus expenses.

The only other new categories in the charges and fees bylaw are sections for towing, impound and storage of ATVs and snowmobiles. Towing for both will be $180, impound and storage will be $20 with a $15 administrative fee.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Pay more – Get Less on

    Pay more but no guarantee service will improve! Business garbage pick-up is either twice a week or 6 times a week & unfortunately we’re stuck paying for a service we do not receive. As a small business owner I was charged the 6 day a week rate for over a year until someone noticed the mistake but I never received a refund! I paid over $500 a month for one lousy bag of garbage and I had to call to have that picked up!! The sad reality is, I constantly have to call to have the garbage picked up!! PAY MORE BUT GET LESS – UNACCEPTABLE!!!

  2. Posted by Midas on

    Pay goes up for Mayor and Councilors. Not too long ago, Mayor was a part time job. Price of water goes up.
    Salaries of workers, not so much.

    Water bill pays for most of city operations, especially that pretty pool.

  3. Posted by citizen on

    The mayor and her circle can toot their own horn about all their little pet projects, but they’ll still be known as the group that rose taxes on a city with half the population in financial jeopardy….while simultaneously giving themselves a raise.

    Give your heads a shake councillors. How much would you bet that 2 or 3 of these councillors won’t be living in Iqaluit in the next 5+ years and won’t be paying into this tax hike?

  4. Posted by Concerned on

    I know this post is long and contains a lot of numbers, but I feel it is important to put these numbers out there and to let everyone know what the City of Iqaluit’s water rate hike will mean in percentage terms. I feel like the City is hoping that ratepayers will not pay attention to pennies. When they are talking about completely removing a $0.013 (1.3 cent) subsidy per litre of water, who really cares, right? We should all care because the complete elimination of the subsidy represents a 186% increase to ratepayers for water.

    Subsidy = $0.013 = 1.3 Cents
    Nonsubsidized Rate = $0.02 = 2 Cents
    Subsidized rate = $0.007 = 0.7 Cents

    Nonsubsidized Rate – Subsidized rate = Increase to Customer
    2 Cents – 0.7 Cents = 1.3 Cents

    (Increase in Water Rate/Original Water Rate) * 100 = Percentage Change

    (1.3 / 0.7) * 100 = 185.71%

    185.71% Increase to ratepayers once the subsidy is completely removed.

    Here is an example of a family of four. If that family uses the 2011 Canadian national average of 250 L of water per day per person, the numbers will look like this (I am using the 2011 average because it is one of the lowest averages I could find):

    4 PEOPLE x 250L/Day = 1000L/Day

    30 Days/Month x 1000L = 30,000L/Month

    30,000L X $0.007/L = $210 = What that family would currently pay per month

    30,000L X $0.02/L = $600 = What that family will pay when the subsidy is removed

    That family of four that currently pays $210/Month ($2520/Year) for their water will be paying $600/month or $7200/Year for water once the subsidy is completely removed. That is $4680 more per year that the City will be taking from that family for water. To put that in perspective, in most cases, it is like paying MORE than an additional year’s worth of property tax.

    Some families will, of course, use more or less water than this example, but the percentage increase will always be 186% more than what all families currently pay.

    If any other utility said they were increasing their rate by 186% it would-be front-page news and people would be outraged. I just can’t understand doing this to ratepayers and their families in a place where families already have some of the highest costs of living in the country.

  5. Posted by Correct me if I’m wrong on

    If memory serves me correctly, the city receives money from the GN for the water subsidy which is then passed down to the customer. If this is correct then the city continues to receive this subsidy from the GN even though they have indicated the slow reduction and subsequent elimination to the water subsidy for the customer. If this is correct some serious investigative reporting needs to be done!

  6. Posted by Time for a change on

    Communities across the country have changed the fee structure and way garbage is collected. Perhaps it’s time the city of Iqaluit started to do their homework and find a suitable solution for everyone involved. It’s obvious the current system of just raising rates isn’t working! Time to move into the 21st century – there are better options available!

  7. Posted by Accountant on

    Face it, it’s not a bill for water, even though the city calls it that.

    It’s the main way Iqaluit gets money to pay for its operating costs and to repay its debts.

    Furthermore, the increase was a foregone conclusion the moment City Council voted for the swimming pool.

  8. Posted by Thirsty on

    Conveniently this goes up after they allowed services to be overnight to accommodate the brewery and the black heart cafe. Now everyone gets to split that bill. Commerical services should be raised, stop gouging the handful of homeonwers. Between this and the joamie lot lottery the city has shown they favour big business. They have done nothing to address the problem and if anything are making it worse. Maybe it the mayor spent more the half her time in Iqaluit rather then travelling out of province she would see how residents really feel. She is too busy pushing her personal political agenda to be our Mayor.

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