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Water and wastewater budget approved — bills to rise slightly

'The shift in the rate structure,' from 50/50 fixed/variable to 45/55 'will result in water charges that better reflect actual usage, giving users more control over their bills and moving towards a fairer system'
North Bay council chambers as seen from the Mayor's boardroom on the fifth floor of City Hall.

North Bay City Council has approved the 2024 water and wastewater operating budget in the net amount of $26.2 million, with a shift in the rate structure that bases a larger portion of billing on the volume of water used by the customer.

The average North Bay household using 14 cubic metres of water will pay an additional $2.45 monthly, or about eight cents per day.

"This budget continues to invest in our water and wastewater infrastructure, to ensure reliable services for the community,” says Deputy Mayor Maggie Horsfield. “Additionally, the shift in the rate structure will result in water charges that better reflect actual usage, giving users more control over their bills and moving towards a fairer system."

To help achieve a more equitable model of billing, the water and wastewater rate structure will be based more on usage, shifting this year from 50 per cent fixed and 50 per cent variable to 45 per cent fixed and 55 per cent variable. ICI (Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional) bills will also rise under the new fixed/variable model.

The 2024 budget is up by approximately $1.25 million, or 5 per cent, compared to 2023. About 3.5 percent of the increase is allocated for investments in water and wastewater infrastructure, ensuring the City's commitment to sustainable services. The remaining 1.5 per cent is attributed to rising operational costs, including fuel, utilities, and chemicals.

Municipal water and wastewater services are funded by end users as mandated by the province. There are approximately 16,900 water/wastewater customers in the community. The City is responsible for more than 574 kilometres of mains — including 304 km within the water system and 270 km within the wastewater system — the operation of the wastewater treatment facility on Memorial Drive and water treatment plant on Lakeside Drive, as well as 17 sewage lift stations.

The water and wastewater budget is approved separately from the 2024 operating and capital budgets because it is funded from user fees and not property tax.

Operating and capital budget deliberations will get underway later in February. Residents can share their comments via email at [email protected].

Learn more about the budget process, review documents and look for updates at