Budget 2022: Sanitary Sewer Operations

Gibsons’ sanitary sewer infrastructure includes pipes, pumps, the wastewater treatment plant, and the Prowse Road lift station, which collect and treat waste water.

On March 15, 2022, Council adopted Town of Gibsons Rates, Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 1196-21, 2022. The Bylaw reflects a 5% increase to the current Water Parcel Tax and User Fees and a 5% increase to the current Sanitary Sewer Parcel Tax and User Fees.  For residents, this represents an average annual increase of $43 for water services and $33 for their sewer services. Read the related Staff Report here.

On January 25, 2022, the Director of Finance presented an update to the Sanitary Sewer Long Term Financial Plan and the Director of Infrastructure Services presented the one and five-year capital plans for sewer infrastructure.

A report on the 2022 Preliminary Sewer Operating Budget was also presented.

Highlights of the meeting included:

2022 Revenue

Total operating revenue is budgeted to be $2,282,285, an increase of $273,800 over 2021.

The increase is related to three factors:

  1. Additional taxes/user fees as more properties are connected to the Town’s sanitary sewer system throughout the year. An additional 54 parcel taxes will be collected in 2022.
  2. A 5% increase in parcel taxes and user fees, which is made up of a 2% cost of living increase and a 3% asset replacement increase. Each year, the Town’s sewer rates are reviewed to ensure they reflect all current and future costs associated with the Town’s sewage infrastructure. Based on this review, Town staff are recommending that Gibsons’ Council approve an overall increase of 5% in the Town’s sewer rates in the 2022 budget. Higher rates help ensure the Town has the funds it needs to continue delivering reliable sewage services for the long-term.
  3. A total transfer from reserves of $297, 400. These funds will be used to complete delayed preventative activities from 2020/2021, to cover the debt servicing costs of the Prowse Road Lift Station and to cover COVID-19 related expenses (PPE, improved internet services and remote alarm monitoring services.)
2022 Expenses

Total operating expenses are budgeted to be $2,200,545, an increase of $272,060 over 2021.

The increase is primarily related to:

  1. Administration: increased insurance costs;
  2. Collection: increased staffing costs reflecting an increase in planned work, including the carryover of sewer main flushing and smoke testing from 2020 and 2021;
  3. Waste Water Treatment Plant: higher staffing costs, which reflect the increased resources required to run the plant and outstations effectively, and increased repairs and maintenance expenses;
  4. SCADA: costs in this area were reduced on a year-over-year basis, as work which was previously contracted out is now being performed in-house;
  5. Fiscal services: interest payments of approximately $21,000, which are related to recent major upgrades at the Prowse Road Lift Station.
2022 Net Surplus

With revenues of $2,282,285 and operating expenses of $2,220,545, a net surplus of $81,740 has been forecast. This surplus will be used to fund a portion of the current year capital and projects program.

Capital and Projects Program

For 2022, $356,000 has been budgeted for sanitary projects, with $174,000 of that related to completing strategic updates at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Other projects include data collection improvements and operational improvements at the waste water treatment plant.

To view a complete spreadsheet of planned 2022 Sanitary Projects, please click here.

To view a complete spreadsheet of planned Sanitary Projects 2022 – 2026, 2please click here.

Next Steps

A draft motion to authorize the proposed 5% increase to the sewer parcel tax and user fees will be brought to Council on February 15th. Based on the direction given at that time, staff will bring an amendment to Rates, Fees and Charges Bylaw 1196 to the March 1st Council meeting for three readings, with adoption scheduled for March 15th. This will ensure that the new rates are in place prior to the start of the next utility billing cycle. The Sewer Parcel Tax Bylaw will be brought to Council in April 2022, along with the Annual Tax Rates Bylaw.