Spreadsheet error, higher labour costs drive high utility rates

A clerical error coupled with higher labour costs has sparked a whopping 15 per cent increase in city water and sewer fees. Utility fees typically only increase by about four or five per cent per year. City officials originally called for a 12.5 per cent

A clerical error coupled with higher labour costs has sparked a whopping 15 per cent increase in city water and sewer fees.

Utility fees typically only increase by about four or five per cent per year.

City officials originally called for a 12.5 per cent increase, but bumped it up 2.5 per cent to account for a 2008 accounting error.

Much of the increase is due to new federal regulations that mandate that if every city employee were to quit on the same day, the city would need to have enough cash on hand to cover their severance packages, said Robert Fendrick, director of administrative services.

The regulations were devised by the federal Public Sector Accounting Board, and apply to every municipality in Canada.

“That’s ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous É these people need some kind of a brain scan,” said councillor Dave Stockdale.

“Anybody with any brains would say that everybody in the city is not going to quit on the same day.” (Tristin Hopper)