The Town of Bashaw has seen an increase in the use of its septic receiving station and is moving to increase the fee associated with the service.
First reading of the bylaw to increase the septic receiving station fee was passed at the March 1 regular council meeting.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller presented councillors with a draft bylaw which proposed increasing the user fee for the septic receiving station which some users may refer to as a sewer dump.
During discussion Fuller noted that the Town of Bashaw saw a large increase in users of its sewer dump after the County of Stettler closed some of its lagoons in 2022.
She explained that the town’s septic station requires a user card which is available after a user signs a contract with the Town of Bashaw.
Coun. Kyle McIntosh observed that the bylaw essentially proposed to increase the sewer dump fee by about 10 per cent.
The CAO responded that she had some trouble finding other communities to compare Bashaw to, as most other municipalities charge sewer disposal by the load whereas Bashaw charges by the cubic metre.
McIntosh was still hesitant. “It still feels low to me,” said McIntosh, adding that the fee could be adjusted in the future if it was indeed too low.
Coun. Cindy Orum stated she felt councillors should just pass first reading and then publicly advertise the bylaw to gather public comment on the proposed increase.
McIntosh stated he wouldn’t mind some extra time to look into sewer dump fees in other communities to ensure Bashaw’s was fair.
The CAO noted sewer dump equipment is not cheap, as the grinder alone costs $21,000. Fuller also added that some users dump septic loads that start at 6,000 metres cubed and go up from there.
Councillors unanimously passed first reading of the bylaw.
New RCMP sergeant
During his committee report Mayor Rob McDonald stated he’d met with a senior RCMP official who confirmed Bashaw’s new detachment commander has been selected, but not yet publicized.
McDonald stated all he could say is that the new commander will be an RCMP officer who is being promoted to sergeant, the rank needed to command the Bashaw detachment.
Also, the mayor noted the RCMP assured him there are no plans to combine the Bashaw detachment with Stettler; apparently this was simply an idea that had been mentioned which took on a life of its own.
Meet the public
Mayor McDonald asked the opinions of his peers on a new idea: coffee with council once a month.
McDonald stated the council would host a drop-in coffee session with the public once a month, perhaps on a Saturday morning for a few hours. “Very informal, just show up and chat,” stated the mayor.
He proposed the council start this program soon, this month specifically and added it wouldn’t be necessary for staff to be there. Councillors unanimously agreed to begin the program March 11.
Prices going up
Councillors unanimously passed third reading of bylaw 819 2023 which amends the town’s master rates bylaw, specifically the utility service customer fee by increasing the fixed component/flat fee bi-monthly charge to $75.50.
First and second reading were passed at a previous council meeting.
Town council unanimously passed all readings necessary to bring into effect the new bylaw enforcement officer bylaw.
The CAO noted the provincial government requires Bashaw to have this bylaw.
“This bylaw is a requirement they have imposed,” stated Fuller’s report to council. Fuller noted Bashaw in the past did have such a bylaw but it was marked as repealed and never replaced.
Coun. Orum asked how the village handles a bylaw complaint. The CAO stated the Town of Bashaw contracts Camrose County to handle its bylaw enforcement, so when a complaint is received its forwarded to the county for review.
By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Mar 13, 2023