by Colin Smith
There is good news and bad news for utilities consumers in Morinville.
The good news is that the amount homeowners pay for garbage collection and recycling is going down.
The bad news is that all other utilities costs, for water, sanitary sewers and storm water management, are going up.
The upshot is that the average household will see utility costs rise $4.87 per month to $137.26 next year with proposed 2021 rates. The annual increase is $58.42, making for a total utility cost of $1,647.13.
Morinville Town Council gave first reading to the draft bylaws setting utility rates for 2021 at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Morinville’s current contract for solid waste services expires next April. The Town Administration was able to negotiate a reduction in solid waste fees by $1 with the contractor for May 1, 2021, with recycle rates remaining unchanged.
As a result, households will see decrease in waste management fees of $1.18, or 5%, per month for next year with the passage of the Waste Management Bylaw.
Water supply services for Morinville are provided by Epcor, which has increased its price by 3.2% for 2021. The Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission is also boosting its price for sanitary sewer services by 10%, from $1.24 to $1.36 per cubic metre.
In addition to these price increases, proposed rates reflect a review of utility operational costs in light of the full-cost recovery model adopted by the Town in 2005.
Water rates will go up $3.02 monthly, $36.23 annually, while sanitary sewer rates rise 53 cents a month, $6.31 per year.
Storm water management rates for households will rise by $2.50 per month, $30 a year, to $120 in 2021.
The increase for non-residential customers will be $5, going from $15 to $20 per month.
Based on a full-cost recovery model for storm water management implemented in 2019, rates will continue to rise substantially for the next six years.
The model aims at building up $6.9 million in reserves for the storm water utility by 2027. The funds will be used for new facilities and the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing ones.
Our coverage of the 2021 Budget’s First Reading can be found here.