Telkwa council has voted to raise residential water and sewer rates by five per cent in 2019.
At the regular council meeting March 26, discussion centred around the prospect of asset management being imposed on the village.
Council had originally planned for a two per cent hike, but had asked Stacey Price, director of finance, to run the numbers for three, five and seven per cent.
She reported that a five per cent increase would run each residential customer approximately $45 more.
Concerned about the impact on local businesses, Coun. Leroy Dekens wanted to put off the vote for another two weeks.
“I know it has to be done, but I’d like some time to look at it,” he said.
Dekens used the example of his own business, Midway Service. He noted a seven per cent increase would cost him $456 this year.
Mayor Brad Layton said he thought seven per cent was too harsh, but suggested with inflation at two per cent, the Village would be losing ground.
The mayor favoured an increase this year of four to five per cent as a way of softening the blow of future increases.
“We need time to absorb it and to explain it to our residents,” he said.
Coun. Matthew Monkman added some perspective saying a three per cent increase only amounts to around $30 per household.
“That’s six cups of coffee at Starbucks, people can find the money for that,” he said.
“This is our water. If we don’t protect our infrastructure, where are we?”
In the end, consensus was reached that five per cent for residential customers and three per cent for businesses was the appropriate action.
Coun. Annette Morgan made the motion, which passed unanimously.