Although permanent sewer service typically leads to increased property values and alleviates the need to pay for frequent pump-outs, the RM recognizes that infrastructure of this scale represents a significant expense for local homeowners.
The RM has taken a number of steps to ensure that the South St. Andrews Wastewater Project is as fair and affordable as possible:
- Reducing costs to homeowners by securing funds through provincial and federal infrastructure programs, as well as funds through the Manitoba Water Services Board. A total of $16.5 million in external funding has been secured for work within the Phase 1 & 2 project areas.
- Negotiating partnership agreements with the City of Winnipeg and West St. Paul to allow waste to be treated at an existing processing plant, eliminating the need for local treatment facilities which would significantly increase project costs.
- Giving residents the option to finance the municipal portion of project costs up to 20 years via installment payments on the homeowner’s annual property tax bill.
There are several fees that homeowners connecting to the new sewer service will pay:
1. A per-lot fee, levied by the RM. The per-lot fee reflects the property owner’s share of construction costs to bring sewer pipe through the municipality and up to the homeowner’s property line.
At the November 2015 public open houses, the RM and project engineers estimated this fee to be approximately $10,700, representing the cost per property of all required municipal infrastructure once federal and provincial grants are factored in.
Additional federal/provincial grant support, as well as construction tendering that came in below estimate, created an opportunity for the RM to reduce these costs further. At its April 26, 2016 meeting, Council approved a reduced fee of $7,390 per lot.
Similar to the approach used in neighbouring municipalities, the RM will collect the per-lot fee from homeowners through a Local Improvement District (LID) levy. A Local Improvement District is established through a bylaw, allowing an RM to collect funds only from the property owners who will benefit from a local improvement provided.
The RM will give all homeowners the option of financing the per-lot fee for a period of 20 years through annual installment payments. Residents may also pay the fee in a lump sum, should they choose. Payment of the per-lot fee becomes due only once construction has taken place on your local street and the sewer is "hook-up ready.” At this point, notices will be sent to property owners to determine whether the homeowner wishes to pay in a lump sum or via installments. Those who wish to pay the fee in a lump sum will receive a minimum 60 days’ notice. Those who wish to pay in installments will begin annual payments on their property tax bill during the tax cycle that follows completion of local construction.
2. Costs for work on the homeowner’s side of the property line. The service piping and other work between your home and the property line must be installed by a licensed contractor and is the homeowner’s responsibility.
Costs will vary significantly between properties, impacted by factors such as the distance of the home from the property line, the location of trees and fences, and the condition of the existing septic tank, if one exists. As a general estimate, homeowners with a dual-cell septic tank in good condition will likely incur costs in the range of $7,000 to $10,000.
Homeowners will be encouraged to get several quotes from licensed contractors. The RM is exploring the possibility of working with project engineers to provide a list of pre-qualified companies.
3. A buy-in charge, levied by the City of Winnipeg. Waste from the RM will be treated at Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre. The City of Winnipeg will charge residents a one-time buy-in/connection fee. The buy-in fee will be finalized later when the agreements between the City of Winnipeg and the RM have been completed, but is anticipated to be approximately $2,500. This fee becomes payable at the time a home is connected to the sewer. Existing homeowners will pay less than the fee levied on new builds. The buy-in charge for future properties on subdivided land will be approximately $3,300. The City of Winnipeg buy-in charge is adjusted annually for inflation.
4. Water meter equipment and installation. A water meter will be installed on each property at the time of connection to the new sewer service. This costs is included in the Capital Cost Component. Meters will be installed such that outside water taps (i.e. water drawn for lawn and garden use) will not be metered.
5. Ongoing utility charge and City of Winnipeg administration fee. Each property will be metered. Quarterly utility bills will be issued to residents reflecting actual usage. Last year, the average family of four paid approximately $160 for sewer service on each quarterly utility bill. The RM will also charge a small levy on each bill to cover ongoing maintenance costs of sewer infrastructure on RM land. All users will pay an annual City of Winnipeg Participation fee. In 2019 this fee was $253 per year.
Estimated Connection Costs for existing South St. Andrews residents for the Wastewater Collection System