Frequently Asked Questions – Proposed Changes Wastewater Billing Model
- Town of Grimsby has historically funded the majority of its wastewater budget through a special wastewater tax rate applied to properties connected to the system.
- As part of the 2023 budget, Council approved the implementation of wastewater rates, resulting in the wastewater program being funded from both the special wastewater tax and wastewater rates.
- The Town will raise the same overall amount, but split between the wastewater tax levy and the water bill (wastewater rates).
- Taxpayers currently paying the through the special wastewater tax rate will see a tax decrease proportional to their property value.
- System users will see an increase in their water/wastewater billing, proportionate to their water use.
- Properties connected to the wastewater system paid for these services solely through the special wastewater tax rate. Each property’s contribution is based on that rate applied against the Current Value Assessment of the property.
- The total amount is based solely on the value of the connected property, with no reference to actual water/wastewater use.
- Aligning each customer’s end cost with actual system usage will increase equity among system users. (i.e. more intensive users carry a greater share of the costs while lighter users will carry less).
- Tying costs (and savings) to system usage is known to encourage and reward responsible water use.
- This change will align Grimsby’s practices more closely with our Regional counterparts and the Ontario municipal community in general.
- 2023 wastewater rates are effective May 1, 2023, in alignment with the revised water rates.
- To accommodate the rates not being effective January 1, 2023, 66.7% of the wastewater budget will be funded from the wastewater tax levy and 33.3% being funded from user fees (wastewater rate); this will occur in 2023 only.
- Beginning in 2024 the wastewater levy will be reduced to 50% of the budget and the balance funded by wastewater rates, applied through the water bills.
- You would continue to see a line item for the wastewater levy, with a lower rate than in previous years.
- Each property’s actual reduction will depend on its assessed value and tax classification.
- See example tax bill
- Moving to 50/50 aligns with current sewer cost structures in that approximately 50% of the total wastewater budget used to support annual wastewater operations (supported by a fee for usage) and the other 50% is used to support contributions to capital and paying the Region for their infrastructure/service (supported by a sewer levy SAR).
- Moving from a tax to a fee will result in overall cost increases for some (i.e. Properties with lower values and high water use) and overall decreases for others (i.e. Higher value properties with low water use). The proposed approach will minimize and mitigate these shifts and individual household impacts.
- See Tax calculator – Proposed Water and Tax Calculator
- The purpose of the Calculator is to provide residents with a tool to calculate the estimated impact of this change on both their property taxes and water bill.
- The tool provides estimates for 2022 and 2023.
- The 2022 numbers are restated to align with the methodology approved for 2023 for comparison purposes, including a reduction of 33.3% to the wastewater tax levy and an estimated wastewater variable rate of 1.17/cubic meter.
- The 2023 numbers are based on 2022 tax rates and 2023 council-approved water and wastewater rates to be able to show the impact of this change.
- There are now three charges that appear on your water bill – the fixed and variable water charge and, effective May 1, 2023, a variable wastewater charge.
- The fixed charge pays for the cost of maintaining the water system
- The variable charges are based on consumption and are based on the water usage.
Please explain the change in simple terms
How were residents paying for the Town’s wastewater program prior to this change?
Why is the Town implementing these changes?
What is the timing of these changes?
What can I expect to see on my tax bill?
Why are we proposing 50% of the charge remaining on the tax bill and not all being charged on the water bill?
How can I calculate the impact of this change on my tax and water bills?
How will the charges appear on my water bill?