By Cole Parkinson
With budget season well underway in the Municipal District of Taber, councillors have had a look at the 2021 Utility Bylaw.
During council’s regular meeting held on Nov. 24, council reviewed changes coming to the bylaw for 2021.
“This does reflect some of the initial discussions that we had at the finance committee meeting at the end of October with regard to base rates for utilities,” explained CAO Arlos Crofts. “It does show a bit of an increase in the utility rates overall and that is because we are adjust- ing the allowable base amount of water.”
One of those changes coming is the level for overages.
With it being set at 22.7 cubic metres in the past, the M.D. has cut that down. “Currently, the overage for residential water utility is anything over 22.7 cubic metres a month. What we proposed in the budget and what is included in the bylaw is to take that amount to 15 cubic metres a month to be included in the base rate. Any additional monthly use would be charged the overage,” added Bryan Badura, director of corporate services.
The monthly flat rate water charge pro- gressed from $55 (2019), $60.50 (2020) to $60.50 (2021).
With the overage change, the charge for above 15 cubic meters $2.23 in 2021 while last year saw an overage of 22.7 at $2.05 in 2020.
“Originally, last year when we started a five year plan to try and fully recover our utility costs, it was a 10 per cent flat fee increase. Part of the discussion was looking at items such as the overage included. So, for the 2021 budget, we included it in the budget proposal rather than an increase in the flat fee to reduce the amount of cubic metres included. We came up with the same affect or expected affect in revenues as raising the flat fee,” stated Badura, who also answered a question around usage in the summer versus other seasons. “In the summer months we do notice the overage.”
Bulk water per cubic meter has gone up from $2 (2019), $2.20 (2020) to $2.40 (2021).
Monthly flat rate sewer charge has risen from $16.90 (2019), $18.60 (2020) to $20.30 (2021). Parks and schools monthly flat rate water has jumped from $200 (2019), $220 (2020), $240 (2021) and their monthly flat rate sewer has gone from $50.70 (2019), $55.80 (2020), $60.90 (2021).
In terms of hamlets, after previous council discussions, they now see the same rates.
“Currently, all three of the hamlets are at the same rate but it will continue to keep them at the same rate as well,” continued Badura.
Council also asked about the garage which is slated for $11 for both businesses and residential, and if $11 would be enough for cost per service.
“I think with the most recent doing it with a contractor third party, you get much closer to the $11 a month,” answered Crofts.
First and second reading of the bylaw were carried unanimously.