As an Improvement District, we are a “user pay” organization. That means all our costs must be borne by the customers using the system.
There are no outside grants or funding that the North Salt Spring Waterworks District qualifies for. And, as with any vital service, the provision of safe drinking water has associated costs. Aside from the immediate expenses related to daily water delivery, our water district must fund source protection efforts, operator training, equipment replacements and upgrades, emergency repairs, sampling, reports, insurance and other eventualities. A number of these expenditures may be unanticipated; therefore, it is necessary that we have a reserve fund to cover such unforeseen circumstances. Our water rates reflect the cost of the service being provided including future needs.
To cover our operating and capital costs, by law, we are allowed to collect money in three ways:
- By charging an annual Water Parcel Tax on the property in our District. This money is generally used for a combination of operating costs, capital improvements, and to pay down long term debt on capital projects. The excess is generally held in a reserve fund for new projects and improvements.
- By charging a fee for the water used. This money is used to cover the cost of day-to-day operations, any surplus may be transferred to the capital expenditure fund or an operating reserve fund to be used for major capital improvements.
- By collecting other miscellaneous charges such as Capital Expenditure Charges, the one-time amount a homeowner or developer must pay to have water main service provided to a lot or lots before building on it/them, meter connection charges, bulk water fees from our on-site dispenser, or for services provided to another district.
We may also attach a surcharge to build capital reserves or to cover borrowing costs for a major capital project. All toll and parcel tax rates and surcharges must be governed by a bylaw passed by the Board of Trustees in accordance with the Guidelines set out in the Improvement District Handbook issued by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. Parcel tax rates and surcharges must be approved by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development annually.
For special capital projects we are also allowed to accept donations and issue tax receipts.
Visit our FAQs page for frequently asked questions about our rates.