The average residential water bill will jump by about $32 next year in Hamilton.
City council has given preliminary approval to a 2019 water and wastewater rate increase of 4.66 per cent, or $32.20. The average residential annual bill would rise to $722.90.
Andrew Grice, Hamilton’s director of water, says the need to upgrade aging infrastructure is a main factor driving the increase.
In presenting his report to the city’s general issues committee on Thursday, he highlighted the impact of four, high-profile water-main breaks this year, one of which flooded dozens of homes near the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Grice stresses that those breaks carried a repair cost of $600,000, adding that “reactive maintenance is very expensive.”
He adds that 35 per cent of Hamilton’s large diameter water mains are 70 years or older, “the kind of stuff that scares me a little bit and keeps me up at night.”
The committee’s approval of the rate budget was unanimous, despite concerns that new councillors who were inaugurated on Monday, haven’t had time to adequately consider the staff report.
Final approval is scheduled during the next city council meeting on Dec. 19.