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Surrey ratepayers can speak to proposed utility rate hikes Monday

Finance committee to consider utilities, other ‘self-funded program’ components of 5-year financial plan Monday afternoon at city hall
Surrey city staff recommending utility rate hikes to the finance committee for 2024. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey ratepayers can speak their piece Monday afternoon at city hall as the city’s finance committee is set to consider the utilities and other “self-funded program” components of Surrey’s Five-Year (2024 – 2028) Financial Plan.

The meeting, which will also be live-streamed, will begin at 1 p.m. Jan. 29 and the public will be able to deliver comments in writing or in person to the committee.

Written questions and comments must be received by noon Friday, January 26, 2024 and may be submitted in a Finance Committee Submission Form by email at or fax at 604-501-7578. Those wanting to address the committee in person are asked to register in advance using the Finance Speaker Registration Email, between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Monday or in-person at the registration desk in the atrium at city hall, from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Monday.

Those not wishing to speak can still register their support or concerns in person at city hall from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Monday.

Up for consideration is corporate report F001: 2024 Five-Year (2024-2028) Financial Plan – Utilities and Other Self-Funded Programs, from city manager Rob Costanzo and Kam Grewal, Surrey’s general manager of finance.

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The report asks the finance committee to recommend that council approve the rate adjustments contained in the report and direct staff to prepare the 2024 Five-Year (2024–2028) Financial Plan for water, sewer, drainage, solid waste, parking, and district energy self-funded programs – which follow a user-pay approach – as recommended.

Recommendations for 2024 include rate increases. The city adopted its residential water metering program 15 years ago and handles 73,000 metered water accounts, which last year were charged $1.2239 per cubic metre of water used.

The corporate report notes that in 2024 the “primary budget drivers” include a 7.6 per cent water rate increase from the Greater Vancouver Water District, and due to this, seeing as the GVWD bulk water purchase makes up 67 per cent of Surrey’s annual water budget, city staff recommend to the finance committee that the water utility metered rate be hiked by 3.8 per cent over 2023 rate and a $3 increase to the base charge be applied to “average” residential and commercial metered properties. The flat water rate, for non-metered customers, would also rise by 3.8 per cent.

It’s recommended for 2024 that the sewer utility rate for metered and non-metered accounts be increased by 14.5 per cent over the 2023 rate, that there be a 1.5 per cent rate hike for all properties to support maintenance and capital costs related to Surrey’s drainage infrastructure, and solid waste utility rates in 2024 be increased by one per cent.

Parking rates are recommended to be “adjusted” at the Green Timbers and Surrey Nature Centre parking lots with no change to electric vehicle charging rates for 2024.

Finally, there’s Surrey’s district energy system – aka Surrey City Energy – which supplies residential, institutional and commercial buildings in the city centre with heat and hot water. City staff recommend in this case a 1.43 per cent rate increase for 2024, which would result in a $12.22 cost hike annually for a 700-square foot dwelling that uses on average 6.8 mega-watt hours of energy per year.

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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