To the residents of Morinville, what do Franchise Fees mean to you? Up until a short time ago, it meant a line item on the Electrical bill and the Alberta Gas bills. It is near the bottom of the bill just above the sub-total. I normally just ignore this line as it is the smallest portion of the bill.
From the little information that I have learned from reading through documents that this so called Franchise Fee appears to be a hidden tax that benefits the Town of Morinville. In fact, if one reviews the Town of Morinville’s 2010 Operating Budget, under Revenue there is a line item called Franchise Fees and it is interesting to see that in 2010, it would appear that just shy of $1,000,000 is budgeted to be received from the various utility companies. Who pays this? Every resident in town that pays their utility bills on a monthly basis!
You will see notification shortly letting everyone know that the Morinville Town Council voted to keep the Fortis Franchise Fee at the same rate of 20% or a projected revenue to the town of $500,000 and so that there will be no increase in the franchise fee line item. While this statement is true, did you know that the Town Council also has the opportunity to LOWER the franchise fee rate to try and keep the rising electrical costs more affordable for their residents?
I realize that this is just one of the many ways of doing business and while it seems to be small in nature, to my small pension budget that does not increase substantially, this means approximately $112 a year for Alta Gas Utilities – Franchise Fee and probably nearly the same on my electrical bill.
I again look at the open and visible government we have here in town and wonder why the Town has never openly advised that the franchise fee is actually revenue and I wonder what they spend it on?
Just another question in my mind.