At last night’s PUC Board of Directors meeting the Board received updates on a number of areas including, the Annual Dividend and Interest Payment to the Shareholder, and new water rates for 2018.
Staff presented the Board with a recommendation to approve a total payment of $2,545,000 in Interest and Dividend payments to the PUC’s sole shareholder – the City of Sault Ste. Marie. The total payment for 2017 comprises of $610,080 in Dividends and $1,934,920 in Interest payments. Since 2001, the City has received a total of $42,220,000 in non-tax revenue from its ownership of PUC.
During the meeting, staff also provided the Board with an update on the financial plan for the water distribution system. In 2012, PUC developed a ten-year financial plan that would gradually see water rates increased to the point that could support the level of investment needed in the distribution system.
Customers may recall that the financial plan included planned rate increases of 10% for 2016, 10% for 2017, and a 5% increase for 2018. However, in 2016 recognizing the condition of the local economy, PUC amended the plan and did not increase water rates for residential and small business customers. In 2017, PUC further revised the plan and reduced the rate increase to 9%.
However, with the increasing amount of planned capital investments needed to replace ageing infrastructure, the Board approved staff’s recommendation to proceed with the planned 5% increase in water rates. The approved rate change will result in a $1.73 increase to the average residential customer’s monthly water bill (14m3). Combined with the Municipal sewage charge the total bill increase for 2018 is $2.80.