Qualicum Beach user fees could go up this fall

The Town of Qualicum Beach is considering hikes to its water, sewer and business license fees in 2012.

Fees for water and sewer service and business licenses could be going up in Qualicum Beach this year.

On Monday night, town council will begin their deliberations on rate hikes in both of these areas.

In a report to council, town staff state that the minimum monthly water rate could be increased 25 cents as of October 1, 2012. The jump would mean an average increase of $3 per year, per household.

The rate, in a bylaw to be put before council on June 11, will ask for water use rate increases this year, and over the next two years.

Level 1 water consumption is currently $8 per month. By Oct, 2014, that rate could be $9 per month.

Rates for excess water use are also facing increases over the same time period.

At the same time, the threshold of change to the higher rate for excess water use would be reduced under the proposed bylaw amendment.

Staff report that this would be the first time in 17 years that the minimum monthly water rate is proposed to increase. They cite age of the water system, increased maintenance costs and inflation as reasons behind the increase.

Sewer rates are facing similar proposed rate increases for residential and commercial users.

As for business licenses, the town is thinking of increasing fees at least $5 across the board. Hikes of $10 will apply to large retain outlets and insurance agencies. A jump of an additional $15 would apply to financial institutions and door to door or telephone soliciting.

Council will consider these fee increases for the first time Monday night, and finalize them over the next couple of regular council meetings.