Drumheller faces wa­ter rate in­crease in 2017

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Krystin McHugh

As dis­cussed dur­ing a spe­cial Town Coun­cil Meet­ing held Mon­day, De­cem­ber 19, 2016, wa­ter rates will be in­creased by 2 per­cent for waste­water and 5 per­cent for wa­ter in 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to Di­rec­tor of Cor­po­rate Ser­vices, Barb Miller, the dif­fer­ence peo­ple in the com­mu­nity will be see­ing on their wa­ter bills will be min­i­mal. There will be ap­prox­i­mately a dif­fer­ence of $2.03 for waste­water and $3.16 for wa­ter for a house that uses twenty cu­bic me­ters av­er­age ev­ery month. This would be close to an av­er­age of $37.88 per year.

Mayor Terry Ye­men said, “All mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will be in charge for them­selves so all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have been ad­vised to be in full re­cov­ery. This 5 per­cent in­crease is based on re­cov­ery by 2020.”

Dur­ing the De­cem­ber 19 Coun­cil Meet­ing, two op­tions were dis­cussed. One, an in­crease of 1.5 per­cent to waste­water and 3 per­cent in­crease to wa­ter, the other an in­crease of 2 per­cent to waste­water and 5 per­cent to wa­ter. The dif­fer­ence between th­ese 2 would be an av­er­age of $14 per year for the av­er­age house­hold.

Coun­cil­lor Jay Gar­butt said dur­ing the Coun­cil Meet­ing, “We have been in this to­tal cost re­cov­ery jour­ney for al­most ten years and that by drop­ping the in­crease by a to­ken amount, this only de­lays the path to to­tal re­cov­ery. The to­ken amount be­ing a dif­fer­ence of un­der four­teen dol­lars a year. This amount is no real help to the ratepay­ers. If, as a Coun­cil, you se­ri­ously want to ad­dress how the eco­nomic times we find our­selves in are af­fect­ing the com­mu­nity, let’s do that, but let’s not pre­tend that sav­ing peo­ple four­teen dol­lars a year on their wa­ter bill is help­ing in any way.”

Miller said that not in­creas­ing the wa­ter fees puts the town far­ther be­hind with a loss of $45-50,000. This, in turn, pushes the town far­ther from to­tal re­cov­ery, chang­ing the pre­vi­ous hopes of re­cov­ery by 2020 to 2022.

Mayor Ye­men said there is hope that the Town of Drumheller will be able to sup­ply wa­ter to sur­round­ing ar­eas in the fu­ture.

The Town of Drumheller util­ity ser­vice is fully rate sup­ported and not funded through prop­erty tax. An­nual rate ad­just­ments are nec­es­sary to cover in­creased op­er­at­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with pro­vid­ing the ser­vice and to fund fu­ture cap­i­tal im­prove­ments which will en­sure the Town has ad­e­quate emer­gency funds for un­ex­pected costs.

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