Randy Cooper, chair of Stratford's finance and technology department delivers the town's 2016 budget address Wednesday during the monthly council meeting.
©BRIAN MCINNIS/THE GUARDIAN
Water and sewer rates are going up in Stratford.
The announcement was made Wednesday at the monthly council meeting where the 2016 budget was presented.
"We are not meeting our expense targets when it comes to the operation of the waste water treatment plant," said Councillor Randy Cooper, chair of Stratford's finance and technology department.
He said operating expenses like electricity and maintenance keep going up, the community keeps expanding which increases pressure on the sewer and water supply but rates have not gone up for the past six or more years.
Starting in July, rates for a single family dwelling will rise to $68.25 per quarter for water, $82.25 for sewer.
For metered customers, the new rate will be $0.805 per cubic metre for water, .9706 per cubic metre for sewer.
"With climbing expenditures to operate both systems, our waste water and our water system, which we are proud to say is working very well and has loads of capacity, it's time to have that increase in there," said Cooper.
Further rate increases will come when a decision is made on what the town will do with its growing waste problem, he said.
Negotiations are underway with Charlottetown to see if piping sewage over to its waste treatment plant is a possibility.
The other option is to build a waste plant over Stratford's existing lagoon.
"Preliminary estimates for both options are similar in cost," said Cooper.
It would be in the 12 to 15 million dollar range, he said.
The town is also seeking federal funding to begin installing meters in all residences in Stratford.
There is $375,000 in both this year's budget and next to help pay for meters, council heard.
There is no increase in the residential or commercial property assessment tax rate.
"We have a budget that is prudent and looks after the town of Stratford in a fair way, a balanced way," said Mayor David Dunphy. "We had many things we would like to do however, I think we have struck a good balance."
Capital expenditures for the coming year include a concrete water splash pad at $100,000, a ski groomer for $27,500 and a public art piece for the town's parks and trail system at $12,000.
There is also money set aside to help a community group build a skate park, but it all depends on external funding.
"It's turned back to the committee," said Cooper. "They have concept plans now. They are looking to put a plan in place for fundraising."
"They say it's a $350,000 project," said Cooper. "The town is willing contribute $150,000 towards that."