By Trevor Busch
In an effort to align the water rate being charged to the Village of Barnwell with increased rates now charged to the Town of Taber through the Taber Irrigation District, town council has approved an amendment to Fee Bylaw 5-2019.
“We are losing some cash due to an increase in the TID rates with the raw water that we’re providing to the Village of Barnwell,” said CAO Cory Armfelt at town council’s Feb. 25 meeting.
According to administration, the meter rate being charged to the Village of Barnwell has not increased since 2013, but rates charged to the town by the Taber Irrigation District (TID) have increased substantially between 2013 and 2018. The increase to the village’s rate is in line with the increase by the TID.
“I don’t think that this is a significant amount for Barnwell,” said public works director Gary Scherer. “I think we charge them about $5,000-$6,000 per year overall. The raw water rate has gone up, and that’s why we need to apply this additional fee.”
Under the change, the village is now being charged $827.42 per 4,500 metres cubed. About five to 5.5 per cent of the raw water transported by Taber annually from Chin Reservoir is diverted to the Village of Barnwell, according to Scherer.
“We’ve had discussions with the Village of Barnwell for about two years now in the context of wanting to amend the raw water agreement, which goes back to 1985,” continued Armfelt. “It’s been challenging with making some meeting times with the Village of Barnwell, and there’s been some challenges with consistency with regards to conversations with their administration. We do have the ability with the contract to make these rate amendments from time to time when they are warranted. We feel it is now warranted as we are now paying more for our raw water through TID, and to be fair to the Village of Barnwell, we should be passing those costs on to the village and not having Taber residents essentially covering that gap.”
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to pass third and final reading of Fee Bylaw 5-2019.