Letters: Explaining the sewer parcel tax

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne explains the numbers and reasons for increase in sewer parcel tax

I would like to clarify the 7.1 per cent increase in the sewer parcel tax and how the fund operates.

Legally only those people living in the sewer specified area are responsible for the costs of the sewer system. Revenue comes from their yearly parcel tax fees, sewer generation charges, rehabilitation revenue fund fees and permit fees. Expenses consist of the sewer operating contract (EPCOR), debt interest, debt principle and other miscellaneous expenses. Since the inception of the sewer due to expenses exceeding revenue, funds have been borrowed from the General Fund to pay the sewer bills. Legally they have to be repaid.

Audited financial statements consolidate Sewer Fund operations with General Fund operations making it difficult to track numbers directly related to the Sewer Fund. For example the audited statements mix some revenue like Development Cost Charge (DCC) with the Sewer Fund when they actually go to a Reserve Fund skewing the figures.

District’s costs to determine specific sewer fund costs come directly from the General Ledger which is the key document for any business accounting system. It shows each dollar in and each dollar out in addition to each dollar as it is allocated to a specific fund such the Sewer Fund, Sewer DCC fund, Parks Fund, etc. This can create a difference between the District’s actual numbers and the numbers in the audited consolidated financial statements.

Actual Costs

Revenue

2008   $1,265,991

2009   $1,325,174

2010   $1,459,698

2011   $1,581,979

Expenses

2008    $1,379,980

2009    $1,435,040

2010    $1,461,596

2011    $1,762,117

There were net losses from 2006 and 2007 as well, bringing the accumulated losses at the end of 2011 to $588,459. The significant increase in costs is the EPCOR operating cost which increased from $530,175 in 2008 to $814,924 in 2011.  Total EPCOR expenses for 2012 will exceed $1,000,000.  We are projecting that with growth and cost containment the sewer will be at a breakeven point by the time this deficit is paid off.

Some have stated this increase would not be necessary had the 21-year sewer deal gone through.  I want to make it clear that the five- year deal the District signed was almost identical in terms to the 21- year deal with the exception of the length.

So to suggest the 21-year deal would have reduced these costs is simply not correct. Anyone who suggests differently should examine the two deals in detail before commenting.The five-year deal gives councils an opportunity to examine the operation of the sewer system to determine if there are ways to reduce the costs and still maintain the high standard we have today.

Mayor Wendal Milne

District of Sooke

Just Posted

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

11th annual Sooke Secret Garden Tour offering eight locations

June 2 event a fundraiser for Sooke Philharmonic Society

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Mamma Mia! Here we go again at Sooke’s EMCS theatre

Production of Mamma Mi! features ABBA tunes that leave you humming

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Most Read