Special Council Meeting Monday, Dec. 19, 2016
The Town of Drumheller held a special Council Meeting, December 19 to address the issue of raising the Utility Rate pertaining to water and wastewater fees. After an amendment was made at the December 12 meeting to decrease the raise of 5 per cent to 2 percent for water and 3 percent to 1.5 percent for wastewater Council agreed to revisit this matter.
Councillor Jay Garbutt addressed Council stating that he did not want to see rates increase but after reviewing this Councillor Garbutt made a motion to reinstate the original proposal to increase water by 5 percent and wastewater by 2 percent.
Councillor Garbutt said, “I am opposed to this motion and prefer to see the original motion reinstated.”
Councillor Sharel Shoff said she felt they should try to keep the fees the same for another year and feels they should help the people in the community in any way they can.
According to Director of Corporate Services, Barb Miller, if rates go up by 3 percent versus 5 percent the timeline to cost recovery would be 2022 instead of 2020.
Councillor Pat Kolafa said, “I think we are working against ourselves by doing that.”
Motion to decrease fees was defeated. The amendment to have fees increased by 5 percent and 2 percent was reinstated and the motion carried by a vote of 4 to 3. First, second, third readings to reinstate the increase were completed and the motion was passed to keep the previous increase of 5 percent to water and 2 percent to wastewater.
Council then reviewed the Service Fee Schedule for 2017.
Administration fees will not be facing an increase.
According to Director of Infrastructure Services, Darryl Drohomerski, Airport rates will be going up by $50. Mr. Drohomerski said that in comparison to numerous airport fees Drumheller’s fees are very low and there hasn’t been any raise to these rates in many years.
According to Mayor Terry Yemen, all fees regarding animal licences are staying the same.
Director of Community Services, Paul Salvatore, said Community Services are still focusing on cost recovery. With this focus, fees for the Aquaplex, Arena, Ball Diamonds, and BCF will be facing a 2 percent increase. These new rates won’t be implemented until July 2017. Numerous Council members highlighted the Fee Assessment Program, available for those in lower income brackets. This allows for up to fifty percent discount on most memberships for those who qualify. When challenged Mr. Salvatore acknowledged that Drumheller is on the higher end for fees regarding the Aquaplex but due to still being in cost recovery mode, fees will continue to be higher. The Town also offers many opportunities for families to take advantage of the facilities available in town. Some of these are toonie swims and family fun days at the BCF.
Increases to bulk utility rates will increase like planned. This will affect places like campgrounds with sewer dropping and bulk water usage.
The Service Fee Schedule showed that business licences will stay the same.
Fees regarding the Cemetery will increase by the proposed 2 percent.
Paul Salvatore, Director of Community Services said The Summer Fun, Flex Days, Before and After School Care programs and the BCF birthday party packages are all staying the same for the time being. Since these programs did not meet the revenues in 2016 Community Services will be reassessing the after school fees for changes in the fees for the 2017/2018 year.
Safety fees and development permit fees will be increased by 2 percent. Mayor Yemen stressed the increase of safety’s codes is due to the new contractor fees the town is facing. There has been no increase to these fees since 2012.
Mayor Yemen closed the meeting by acknowledging the hard work of administration to keep increases to a bare minimum.