In 2017, Halifax Regional Municipality changed its billing approach for the stormwater right-of-way charge. Since then, all properties (both residential and commercial) that pay for Halifax Water stormwater services are charged a flat annual rate on their water bill. The municipality’s stormwater right-of-way charge is no longer included on municipal property tax bills.
For the municipality to fund the required payment to Halifax Water in 2018-19, the annual rate has been set at $40. This rate change is described in an information report to Regional Council on March 7, 2018. The rate is effective April 1, 2018. For the prior year (April 2017 to March 2018), the annual rate was $39.
Halifax Water stormwater customers will see this change on their water bills starting in July 2018. Most customers – those with billing every three months – will see an increase of 25 cents per billing period.
Why do I get a bill for the Stormwater Right-of-Way Charge?
In a 2013 rate hearing decision, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board directed that the portion of stormwater costs related to the street right-of-way should be billed to the Halifax Regional Municipality. As directed by Halifax Regional Council in 2017, the required amount – currently $3.8-million per year – is collected through the Halifax Water billing process. This charge appears on the water bill as “HRM Right of Way.”
The municipality’s stormwater right-of-way charge applies to any property receiving the Halifax Water stormwater charge. If you are not being billed the Halifax Water stormwater charge, you will not be billed the municipality’s stormwater right-of-way charge.
Why didn’t the municipality put the charge in the property taxes?
This was one option considered by Halifax Regional Council. Initially, Regional Council preferred to have the charge collected by Halifax Water. In 2016-17, the municipality collected the stormwater right-of-way charge on the property tax bill. Collecting the flat charge on the property tax bill created challenges for some types of properties such as condos, land leased communities, and water lots. As a result, Halifax Regional Council has opted to have Halifax Water, again, collect the charge.
For more information about stormwater services visit Halifax Water.