At its Feb. 26 regular meeting, Peace River town council chose to give second and third reading to amendments to Bylaw 2148.

The Town reviews its municipal fees and charges annually to ensure that expenses are properly recouped.

“There is a balance between increasing fees and maintaining or changing service levels,” says Mayor Elaine Manzer.

“Many service levels are basic services such as water utilities. Others deal with fees and charges for a variety of things from amenities such as using the Baytex Recreation Centre or permits.”

Schedules of fees included in the bylaw include Corporate Services, Protective Services, Community Services, and Engineering and Infrastructure.

“The fees and charges compensate for increased expenses to offer the same or new services,” explains Manzer.

“The other means of compensation for many of these services is through general taxes. To a large extent the Fees and Charges bylaws are charging the users for using or having access to the service.”

Fees in the municipality are increasing on average by two per cent, however the Baytex fees will see an increase of five per cent, as they have not been increased in the past three years.

“Staff always compare the fees and charges to similar service charges in other communities,” she says.

“For some sports related programs such as the pool and Baytex, often business sponsors public swims or skates.”

First reading to the proposed amendments was given on Feb. 12.

Manzer says – unfortunately – there is no way to cap fee increases as they directly correlate with expenses to run the programs and services.

“To cap fee increases usually means decreasing service levels as costs to provide the service usually increase and putting the same allocations year over year, does not buy as much of the service,” she says.

“The Town is always looking for efficiencies in providing services and facilities and will continue to examine the Town’s operations for better and cost-effective ways of providing the services.”

Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – South Peace News – southpeacenews.com

Original Published on Mar 06, 2024 at 10:10

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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