By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber is looking at including all of their fees, license and permit amounts into one single bylaw.
Right now, a variety of bylaws encompass those fees, license and permit amounts, but after discussion at the last Committee of the Whole meeting on Nov. 9, administration brought forward the new bylaw for first reading to council’s regular meeting on Nov. 22.
“This bylaw takes effect January 1, 2022, and what we’ve included in Schedule A of this bylaw is the updated amounts for 2022 for water and sewer charges. There’s a five per cent increase from the 2021 amounts,” explained Bryan Badura, director of Corporate Services.
Administration also explained why there was a five per cent increase in water coming in 2022.
“The purpose of that is rooted in cost recovery,” stated CAO Arlos Crofts.
Council asked if there would be a five per cent increase in garbage pickup in Grassy Lake as well.
“That’s being proposed that it remains static,” responded Crofts. “All the fees being proposed, it’s only the utility fees that are being proposed to change — water essentially. The rest of the fees are remaining the same.”
A concern was brought up around carrying all three readings right now as there was a potential issue around the increase surprising some residents.
“It’s nice to get the notification out sooner. The intention was to send out the notification with the end of month utility invoices,” added Crofts. “I do believe Bryan and his staff have been working on some education information to send out with the notices, specifically some of the messaging around purchasing of water from the water commissions.”
Administration further explained the decision to raise water prices to reach cost recovery.
“The plan we have had in place for fully costing water has been in place since the year 2020. So, this will be year three of the plan. We communicated each year during budget time, as well at the annual general meeting, to the public with regards to the plan for increasing water prices to reach full cost recovery,” added Badura. “In the short-term, what we have done is a direct mail out just to the utility holders in the hamlet of Grassy Lake with regards to comparison of water utility prices in other communities as well as some tips on conserving water and some information in regard to the structure and process of how the Highway 3 Water Commission was initially created and why it was created with our partnering municipalities.”
The first two readings of the bylaw were carried unanimously and third reading was carried 6-1 with Coun. John Turcato in opposition.