COURTENAY, B.C- Tax bills could be going up in Courtenay.

According to the agenda for council’s committee of the whole meeting today, increases in the fees for water and sewer services are being considered for the upcoming municipal budget.

For 2019, those increases are being set at 6.5 per cent for water, with the average family residence seeing an annual increase of $30.39. For sewer, the increase is being set at 5 per cent, with the average family residence seeing an annual increase of $16.21.

City staff are asking for council to approve both increases.

There are a variety of factors at play with the increases. Those include a rise in water rates from the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) which the city purchases water from.

Those rates are rising over the next three years as the district works on capital projects in the water system.

Staff costs are rising by $60,000 due to annual salary increase and the Employer Health Tax, while another $120,000 is due to increased costs from Island Health permit-mandated activities.

Expenses from the district also factor into the sewer rate hike, while personnel expenses on that front are going up by $34,500 due to annual salary increase and the Employer Health Tax.

Another $20,500 is due to an increase in preventative maintenance, such as sewer flushing, grease and root removal, and smoke testing.

Those expenses are small when compared to other costs in the sewer budget, which include multi-million capital projects to replace sewer mains in Courtenay’s aging system.

It remains to be seen what council will decide on the subject.