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Provincial board to hold meeting this month on water hike proposal

Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) will hold a meeting next month to discuss a possible water rate hike for Flin Flonners.
A piggy bank and some money. Why isn't it in the piggy bank? Who knows.

Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) will hold a meeting next month to discuss a possible water rate hike for Flin Flonners.

The PUB announced it will convene a public hearing May 27 at the Flin Flon Community hall, starting at 5:30 p.m. The hearing will cover both of the proposals being made by the City to pay off utility deficits from two previous years, which existing City money reserves cannot cover. The first application will be to approve the deficits, incurred in 2018 and in 2022 due to issues with amortization and a cost overrun on road and sewer repairs to Church Street. The second one will be regarding the proposed rate increase and rate rider.

As it currently stands, the proposed change up for consideration by PUB would see water rates increase in each of the next five years, starting next year, to cover the two shortfalls. Manitoba municipalities have to break even on their utilities as per the Manitoba Municipal Act - if they don’t, they can either pay the deficit off with surpluses or petition PUB for rate increases. The City has no utility surplus, forcing the second option into play.

The plan to pay those costs will come from a rate rider on water and sewer fees, starting in 2025. The rider is planned to stay in effect for either five years or when the extra costs owing are paid off - whichever comes first.

According to the proposed rates and rider, an unmetered home using 5,500 gallons of water each month would see an increase of $9.30 a month starting next year, for a total of $140.96 in charges per month.

Those increases will see that same home pay more in each of the coming years - $154.50 a month in 2026, $168.04 a month in 2027 and $181.58 in 2028, more than a $40 per month increase over the proposed 2025 level.

In a statement issued April 12, the PUB said the meeting will be limited in scope to only the two measures, not to other City of Flin Flon business.

“The public hearing will be strictly limited to the deficit and rate applications filed by the City with the Public Utilities Board. Any other City issues can only be resolved by the City and therefore will not be part of the hearing,” reads the announcement.

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