Drumheller faces water rate increase in 2017
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.