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for those living in an apartment, Condo, 55 plus, life lease or similar use building, with four or more living units and only one water meter servicing the entire multi-unit building.
The City of Kenora provides water and sewer services to residents on a fee for service basis (user pay system). Each residential dwelling unit pays for their water consumption and the related sewer and water fees for a residence. The sewer and water fees are set based on the cost to provide the service. Recently it has come to the City’s attention that of the 88 apartment buildings, Condos, 55 plus, life lease or similar use buildings which have four or more living units, approximately two thirds or 55 buildings are serviced by a single water meter. Until now these buildings have only paid a single water and sewer service fee, even though the building has four or more residential dwelling units within it.
The single fee represents an unfair advantage to residents of these buildings. Through no fault of their own, residents have not been paying the sewer and water service fees for each residential dwelling unit. The report put forward to Council on March 28, 2018 addresses this issue by proposing to charge each building the base sewer and water service fee charge multiplied by the number of dwelling units within the building. Thereby ensuring that the residents of these buildings are paying their fair share, just as everyone else in the City of Kenora currently does.
As a resident or owner of a multi-unit building, you may have some questions about the changes. Here are some common questions and answers:
When will this be implemented?
Provided it is approved by Council, it is expected this will take effect by July of 2018.
Will these charges be phased in?
Yes, it is recognized that the absence of these fees until now is not the fault of the residents, and as such we have opted to phase these fees in over five (5) years.
Here is an example of how the rate will change for a building with twenty (20) living units and a single water meter. Note currently the charge is based on a buildings meter size, as per the General Tariff of Fees and Charges fee structure. This means such a building could be charged as little as:
Water Meter Rate $42.16 x 1 meter = $42.16
X100% for Sewer Rate $42.16 x 100% sewer = $42.16
Total Rate Per Month $84.32
The same building under the proposed recommendation would be charged:
Water Meter Rate $42.16 x 20 units = $843.20
X100% for Sewer Rate $42.16 x 20 units = $843.20
Total Rate per Month $1686.40
Based on a five (5) year phase in, and the current General Tariff of Fees and Charges, this would result in the following charges to the building owner:
20% Annual Increase (to Building Owner)
Increase per Unit per Month If the Building Owner opts to pass these fees on to each individual living unit,
the fees would be as follows:
$1686.40 x 20% = $ 337.28
$1686.40 x 40% = $ 674.56
$1686.40 x 60% = $1011.84
$1686.40 x 80% = $1349.12
$1686.40 x 100% = $1686.40
Are there discounts or different rates for seniors or those on fixed incomes?
No, currently there are many seniors and individuals living at home on fixed incomes within Kenora who pay their sewer and water service fees. The expectation is that individuals living in these buildings, regardless of circumstances, will begin to do the same. However, as noted, these fees will be phased in over five years in order to mitigate the impact.
If I own a condo/apartment with a single building meter will I still receive a bill for water consumption?
If I own a condo/apartment will my water bill also include the service fees for each unit within our building?
You have two choices. You may choose to receive one bill for water consumption and include the service fee for water and sewer on that bill for all of your living units within the building. Alternatively, you may wish to continue to receive your water bill and set up new accounts for each of your tenants to individually pay for their respective service fees.
Did the City provide or will provide written notice to all affected buildings/residents?
No, our established policies regarding notification of these types of changes has been followed.
Why does this only apply to buildings with four or more living units?
It would be challenging if not impossible for the City to identify all residences where homeowners have opted to rent out their basement or part of their home. The decision to limit this change to buildings with four or more living units was based on legal advice and practicality, as a building large enough for four individual living units is in most instances, more readily identifiable.
Why are there two identical fees (one for sewer and one for water)?
The fees are based on the cost of providing water and sewer services. The water fee applies to the cost of running the water treatment plant, the piping and related infrastructure to bring the water to the building and maintain that infrastructure. The sewer fee is the cost of the piping and related infrastructure to remove the used water from the building and operation of the waste water treatment plant. Though the operation of each plant is different you can see that the systems and infrastructure for each are virtually identical. As such, the service fees for these services have been split equally.