Council passes Third Reading of new utility bylaw; bans rental accounts

by Tristan Turner

During their May 24 meeting, Council unanimously passed Third Reading of Utility Bylaw changes which, among other updates, will no longer permit utility accounts to be in a tenant’s name.

The changes are intended to save the Town time and money, with the Town currently on the hook for tracking down missed payments and collections.

Morinville currently maintains more than 3,300 utility accounts, of which nearly 10 per cent represent residential and commercial tenant accounts. Utility write-offs on rental arrears have averaged $15,000 per year over the past three years, with an average collection rate of 15 per cent (or $2,250).

Under the new rules, owners can choose whether residents themselves are responsible for paying the bill, or the owners could add it into the resident’s rent. All current rental utility accounts with the Town will be grandfathered in, with only new accounts being subject to these new changes following implementation Jul. 1.

Other changes under the Bylaw include improvements to e-service availability, as well as simplifying the utility application process.

The Bylaw passed unanimously without debate from Council, following multiple rounds of questions and clarification from Council during votes on the first two readings of the Bylaw.

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