Today, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is releasing to its members a report on cost recovery for water and wastewater services.
Over the past decade, the municipal sector has seen significant changes to the legislative and regulatory framework governing water and wastewater services. These changes have impacted municipal capital, operations and management considerations when delivering water and wastewater services. Many municipalities are implementing cost recovery systems for water and wastewater services and are in various stages of this exercise.
AMO retained Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. and Dillon Consulting Limited to undertake a survey of 16 Ontario municipalities of diverse size and geography that have made or are moving toward full cost recovery and life cycle asset management for water and wastewater services in an effort to help those municipalities that are in various stages of implementing full cost recovery.
The results of the surveys have been included in a report and guide to add to the resources and ongoing conversation on cost recovery for municipal water and wastewater infrastructure. Included in the report is background information on relevant legislation that impacts water and wastewater services, rate structures, capital financing tools and engineering practices to assist councils and staff in understanding the technical concepts and best practices in cost recovery that are before municipalities.
The final report outlines several key observations including:
The report and accompanying guide have been designed to help municipal councils and staff to identify practices that could be helpful to replicate in their own municipality to move water and wastewater systems further toward lifecycle costing and cost recovery.
The need for and benefit of municipal autonomy when exploring solutions to meeting capital and operational requirements that address local circumstances and experiences.
Acknowledging that “one size fits all” legislative, regulatory and planning requirements may not alone move the sector toward full cost recovery for water and wastewater services.
The need for provincial direction through leadership, guidance and tools that would allow the municipal sector to promote innovative approaches and reach goals for locally-led initiatives such as:
Designing a full cost recovery plan, including guidance on what should be included in these plans.
Providing communications support that would help municipalities move toward full cost recovery and help build better understanding with local residents and businesses.
Developing energy conservation and heat recovery initiatives for wastewater.
Providing guidance on long-term asset management planning, including financial support for municipalities with affordability issues.
The need to allow municipalities the ability to explore opportunities to create revenue streams to support storm water infrastructure.
Note: when printing in Pocket Guide Format you will need to print the document on both sides of paper. When finished printing, fold the document in the middle to make a booklet. A non-formatted guide is also available.
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