COLD LAKE – In a regular council meeting held on Jan. 23, members of the Cold Lake city council discussed the utility increase bylaw, particularly targeting the sewer and water services. The main points of the discussion included the shift from measuring water usage in thousand gallons to cubic meters, associated fees in imperial measurements, and increased adjustments to sewer and water usage fees, all linked to financing a new wastewater treatment plant.  

Kristi Isert, general manager of corporate services, clarified that a shift from measuring water usage in thousand gallons to cubic meters, marked at $2.17 per cubic meter, doesn’t result in a change in fees but represents a switch in measurement metrics. Isert explained, “For the water fee, it’s just the switch over into the cubic meters, it’s the sewer fees that are seen, that’s the increase.”  

The proposed changes for water fees include updating the measurements from gallons to cubic meters and increasing meter installation fees. A minimum billing charge for a customer’s use of water will increase from $14 /month to about $15/month. The usage charge will change from $9,85/1,000 gallons to $2.17/m3. The minimum monthly rate, which is a flat rate, will be no charge.

The increase in sewer fees is in response to higher fees set by the Regional Utilities Commission, related to financing the new wastewater treatment plant. The city adjusts its fees to cover the costs set by the RUSC. The proposed changes include: A minimum monthly rate of $51/month will increase to $62/month, a percentage of water bills for metered rate customers will go up from 70 per cent to 85 per cent, and several new fees have been introduced to cover costs associated with servicing property owners. 

Other increases were added to assist with other issues. “Additional fees were added to deal with some of the growing issues around missed appointments, access denied, and non-emergency service fees,” said Isert. 

“Additional fees were added to address some of the on going issues,” put by Isert, “around missed appointments, access denied, and non-emergency service fees.” 

The council emphasized the fact that water and sewer fees have remained unchanged over the past year. The proposed adjustments were framed with financial considerations, ensuring that fees align with the actual needs of the community. Isert further emphasized, “In 2022 is the last time the water and the sewer fees were increased.”  

The council concluded the meeting by giving second, third, and final readings to the bylaw during the evening’s proceedings.  

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 29, 2024 at 17:46

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

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