Utility costs see water and solid waste at 2021 levels and increases in wastewater and stormwater
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by Colin Smith
Morinville households and businesses will see slight increases in utility costs following Town Council approval of proposed rates for 2022.
Council gave second and third reading to this year’s water rates, sanitary sewer rates, waste management and stormwater services charges bylaws at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Residential households will see average utility costs rise to $137.98 per month from $134.76 next year with proposed rates. The annual annual cost is $1,655.74, up from $1,617.13.
There will be no increase in utility costs for water rates, despite Epcor Water Services having increased its price for supplying water to the town by 3% for 2022.
Sewer rates will increase slightly, 18 cents per cubic metre, reflecting an increase in processing 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.
These increases accord with the schedule approved by Council following the Stormwater Study.
Waste management rates will also remain at the same level as last year.
A new provision of the waste management bylaw limits waste disposal to 2,500 kg per Roseridge pass annually, with amounts above that limit to be charged at commercial rates. This applies to solid waste taken over the scale by residents at Roseridge.
This measure was added with the aim of ensuring Roseridge passes are used for residential purposes only.
Council voted to waive the charges on exceeding this disposal limit for the three non-profit organizations to which it provides free passes, as recommended by administration.
Passes currently go to the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation and the Midstream and Fusion thrift stores.
In the past, Midstream waste disposal using the pass has been almost the new residential limit. It’s expected that the recently established Fusion would also likely exceed the residential limit, given the similar nature of its operation.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe noted that is because people continue to dump items at the shop that are not suitable for the store.
“I would hope we could assist them in another way and put out some education about why that’s not a good idea,” he said.
Mayor Simon Boersma expressed his appreciation that the Fusion store has been included among those organizations for which fees are waived.
“I think it’s great that we put Fusion in there,” he said. “With just being there it actually creates synergy.”
Council also approved a revision to the water rates bylaw relating to charges for meter testing.
Rather than being based on a schedule of set costs, meter testing will now be charged for on a cost-recovery basis.
Householders and businesses will be responsible for all costs involved if testing results show the meter to be operating within the acceptable range. However, the town will assume those costs if the meter is shown to be registering outside that range.
Councillor Ray White asked how often it is that higher than expected water bills are the result of meter malfunctions.
Infrastructure Services Manager Jordan Betteridge replied that there wasn’t a good count because when meters malfunction it is typically to the benefit of the user.