Updated – New utility rates to be considered

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UPDATES:

10/10/2018 – Council decides to keep winter averaging and remove the inclining block structure for utility fees

09/12/2018 – Following a review of the proposed bylaw and Frequently Asked Questions from the two public information sessions, Council made a decision to postpone Second Reading of Bylaw 4531-2018 to amend the Town’s rates for water, wastewater and storm services, and have directed Administration to review the bylaw and proposed rate structure and return to Council with further options at a future meeting.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 17, 2018

New utility rates to be considered for water, wastewater and storm water services

HIGH RIVER, AB: The first reading of Bylaw 4531-2018 to amend the Town’s water, wastewater and storm water utility rates was presented to Council at the regular meeting on Monday, July 16. 

The recommendation to amend the rates was developed based on a 2017 study by Corvus Business Advisors on the Town’s water distribution, wastewater treatment and collection systems. Corvus Business Advisors were also engaged in early 2018 to review the Town’s storm water rates.

“The purpose of the studies was to simplify the existing rate structure while ensuring equity, financial sustainability, and environmental stewardship over a period of ten years,” says Ray MacIntosh, manager of accounting services for the Town.

Now that the first reading has been presented to Council, the Town will offer public information sessions to customers. These sessions will provide an opportunity to further clarify and answer questions relating to the proposed rates before second and third readings are presented to Council for approval.

The two studies completed by Corvus Business Advisors determined that the Town’s utility rates need to better satisfy revenue requirements to be financially sustainable into the future. The rate adjustment will also provide future opportunities to replace the aging utilities infrastructures.

To meet these requirements, Bylaw 4531-2018 will adopt new rate structures for water, wastewater and storm water services to begin on November 1, 2018.

Highlight of proposed changes (click here to view the Rate Bylaw Schedule A Amendments):

  1. Water:

An increase of service fees with a decrease in usage charges will be established to meet the Town’s revenue targets and result in revenue recovery over the next 10 years. 

  1. Wastewater:

The winter averaging system for sewer consumption charges will be eliminated and the price differential between residential and non-residential for both water and wastewater will be eliminated.

  1. Storm water:

The current system is operating at a loss and is financed via taxation annually. It is recommended that residential and non-residential rates be established based on average lot size and area estimate.

“These rate structures treat all residential, commercial, and industrial users fairly and equitably, based on their respective use of each utility system,” adds MacIntosh. “To put it plainly, people will now be paying for what they use.”

The recommended structures ensure the financial stability of both the water and wastewater utility system, without any subsidization from the general revenues tax base, and allow the Town to recognize the maximum amount of reserves for future capital investment.

The public information sessions have been scheduled for August 9 and 16 from 4-7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Joint Municipal Building (Town Hall) located at 309 Macleod Trail S.W. Customers can also submit inquires or concerns regarding these new rates to corporateservices@highriver.ca

 

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