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Fernie planning to raise wastewater usage fees for improved upkeep of sewer system

The City of Fernie will likely be rising its wastewater usage fees to help cover the wages of new employees and to better maintain the community’s sewage system.

According to Fernie CAO Michael Boronowski, the annual fee will increase by about $64, per connection.

“That’s approximately $16.25 per quarterly utility bill. That likely won’t start until the third quarter of this year, given where we are in the year and the time it takes to get it through council and recruiting and onboarding new employees,” said Boronowski.

Boronowski explained why the city needs to adjust usage fees.

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“The City of Fernie is adding two new wastewater operators to the department so we can better address the deficit in maintenance and operating requirements in the department, at a cost of approximately $210,000 per year,” said Boronowski.

Fernie’s CAO said this decision comes after much examination of the city’s wastewater operations. The employees will help upkeep and improve with maintenance.

“We came to the realization that we need a few more people to operate this successfully, especially over the summer months, where we’ve been experiencing challenges with our rapid infiltration and lagoon systems,” said Boronowski. “It’s a pretty significant update, but it’s important to note that we haven’t done a hard look at our wastewater staffing or utility fees in over a decade, so this is long overdue.”

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