Residents will see a new charge on their monthly utility bill as the Town of Drumheller moves its solid waste fees from the tax funded budget to the utility funded budget to provide equitable rates for all users.
The change was approved by Drumheller council in December 2022 and will take effect as of March 1.
“While everyone receives the same service, one 360 litre garbage cart picked up once per week and access to recycling, the existing way to pay for this service is a percentage of assessment,” explains Drumheller Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski.
Funding for solid waste was previously collected through municipal taxes, which meant those properties with a higher assessed value were paying more for the same service than those with a lower assessment. By removing this charge from municipal taxes and charging each user the same amount for the same service, it makes it more fair and equitable for everyone regardless of their property assessment.
CAO Drohomerski notes Drumheller was among a minority of municipalities which still charge for solid waste on its municipal taxes, and this change is in line with many other municipalities.
“For some, this is the first time they have received a utility bill from the Town,” says CAO Drohomerski. “People along Highway 10X and west Midland, who do not have water or wastewater from the Town, have previously not received a utility bill.”
Although there were some concerns online this would mean the Town would increase the municipal tax rate to cover the loss of revenue from this change, CAO Drohomerski shares this is simply not the case.
“As we all know, the property taxes went up this year. If the garbage and recycling services were left in the tax supported budget, the tax increase would have been about three to four per cent higher,” he explains.
This change will take effect as of March 1 and will be reflected on utility bills going out beginning in April.