Cornwall waterworks budget starts at 4.07%

The entrance to the Cornwall, Ont. waste water treatment plant on Montreal Road. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – When newly minted Cornwall councillors sit down for their first budget meeting Thursday afternoon, they will be tackling a 2019 water and sewer budget with a 4.07 per cent increase.

Based on the way the budget is now, it would mean an extra $25 to $36 a year for a Cornwall homeowner, based on how many washrooms and outside taps they have and whether they have a swimming pool.

While the cost of operating the water and sewer system has dropped slightly, the amount of capital work will increase nearly 14 per cent next year. The budget is heavy on capital investment at roughly $8.5 million, in order to address the nearly $50 million backlog is repairs to water mains, sewer pipes, buildings and equipment. Part of that capital work – $1.3 million – will be financed over the long term. That’s for the complete underground reconstruction of York Street from Fifth to Seventh Street.

The city has 280 kilometers of water pipe and 440 kilometers of sewer pipe.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s a better picture than the staff projection in December 2017, when they guessed the next council would be facing a 9.5 per cent increase if there was no help from higher levels of government.

The increase this year (2018) was 6.25 per cent.

Thursday’s meeting starts at 5 p.m. at city hall where Infrastructure General Manager John St. Marseille and CFO Tracey Bailey will present the 2019 water and sewer budget.