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Winnipeg city councillors debate water rate hike

Councillors are debating a series of rate hikes that could add hundreds of dollars to water bills over the next three years.
Councillors are debating a series of rate hikes that could add hundreds of dollars to water bills over the next three years.

WINNIPEG — City councillors are fighting back against a proposed water rate increase that could add hundreds of dollars to the average water bill over the next three years.

The waste and water committee has put forward a plan to increase water and sewer rates by 9.2%.

That would mean a quarterly increase of $23 per bill over the next year.

The committee is also proposing rate increases of  8.9% and 7.4% for 2017 and 2018.

St. Boniface councillor Matt Allard and Transcona councillor Russ Wyatt came out swinging against passing the rate increase.

Allard argued there has not been enough time for the public to understand the proposed 2016 budget, along with another tax increase.

“There’s so little time to ask the questions, it sends the wrong message to the public,” Allard said.

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Councillor Wyatt said this meeting has created a “perception of crisis” to the public and a new tax increase does not have to be voted on right now.

“There is a real question of leadership for this (water) department,” said Wyatt.

A vote on the city’s proposed budget and possible rate increase is slated for March 22.

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