Council approves Corporate Fees policy

by Colin Smith

Fees and charges for a variety of services provided by the Town of Morinville will be going up next year following adoption of a Corporate Fees Policy at Council’s October 8 regular meeting.

The policy will see planning and economic development fees, corporate and financial services fees and fire service fees go up to the median of rates charged by comparative jurisdictions.

The rise in fees ranges up to 200 per cent, although the cost of some services was found to be at or above the median.

Fees for Community Services and the Morinville Community Cultural Centre (MCCC) can also be expected to rise, but a public consultation program will take place before those changes are made.

If they were adjusted to meet the median, the cost of some Community Services could go up substantially.

For instance, arena ice rental for adult groups would go up 39 per cent to $223; adult group ball diamond per game charges would rise 44 per cent to $26; and meeting room fees and charges would jump 544 per cent to $161 for four hours.

No changes will be made to Pet Ownership fees due to Morinville’s lifetime licensing strategy.

“It’s important that based on the fact a lot of these fees have not been adjusted for a number of years to bring it up to the median as compared to some of our adjacent municipalities,” said Mayor Barry Turner.

Adoption of the new Corporate Fees Policy followed a review conducted by the consulting firm MNP LLP of fees currently charged by the Town, along with a comparison of eight other municipalities: Stony Plain, St. Albert, Beaumont, Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons, Leduc, Sturgeon County and Spruce Grove.

The aim of the review was to ensure the Town of Morinville’s fees are competitive, establish a consolidated policy that establishes a framework, guidelines and processes, and adjust fees to support growth without reducing service levels.

The research indicated that Morinville fees are often below median market rates and well below the maximum market rates. Fees for Fire Services, Planning and Economic Development, Community Services and MCCC, and Corporate and Financial Services were generally below market medians while Pet Ownership and Business Licence fees were generally near or above market medians.

Potential increase in operating budget revenues as a result of making fees median-based totals $63,978, according to figures in a chart included with the Fees Policy report.

That is: Planning and Economic Development fees, $28, 301; Community Services fees, $24,702; Corporate and Financial Services fees, $5,900; Pet Ownership fees, $1,875; Business Licence fees, $1,800; and Fire Service fees, $1,400. Comparable data for MCCC fees was not available.

The new fees will come into force on January 1, 2020, except for Community Services fees, which will take effect on August 1.

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