by Colin Smith
Morinville residents and businesses will see some utility costs rise next year while others stay the same if Town Council approves the rates proposed by the administration.
Council gave first reading to the draft bylaws setting utility rates for 2022 at their Dec. 6 regular meeting.
Residential households would see average utility costs rise $3.22 to $137.98 per month from $134.76 next year with the proposed rates. The annual cost is $1,655.74, up from $1,617.13 or a difference of $38.61 for the year.
While Epcor Water Services has increased its price for supplying water to the town by 3% for the year, there will be no accompanying rate hike.
“We worked through our utility rate model and determined that maintaining rates as they are in 2021 continued to provide us with sufficient revenue to cover operating expenses as well as a reasonable contribution to our water reserve that will allow us to invest in future infrastructure,” said Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko.
A 3.2% increase by Epcor in 2021 resulted in a $3.02 a month raise in water rates.
Solid waste management rates will also stay the same.
“I think some great work has been done in this area in the last two years,” said Councillor Stephen Dafoe. “We had a decrease last year by a dollar a month and this year no increase despite Roseridge increasing our tipping fee by 2% for next year. Good job all around.”
Sewer rates will rise to $44.07 per month from $42.89 to cover an increase in charges by the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission.
Stormwater management rates for households will rise by $2.50, going from $7.50 to $10 per month.
The increase for non-residential customers will be $5, going from $15 to $20 per month.
Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Labonne explained that the stormwater rate increases are the result of a full-cost recovery model for stormwater management adopted by Council in 2019.
The aim is to build $6.9 million in reserves for the stormwater utility by 2027, so rates will continue to rise for the next few years.
The funds will be used for new facilities and the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing ones.
The first reading of the water services and solid waste management bylaws was approved unanimously by Council. Councillor Ray White voted against the first reading of the sewer and stormwater bylaws without commenting on them.