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June 18th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 24
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Property owner criticizes council
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
stock photo
Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Where’s the beef? That’s what council members were asking Tuesday after a Crowsnest landlord lambasted them for not informing her of changes made to the utility rate bylaw.
“I and every single property manager or owner of property that rents is registered with the utility clerk,” says Crowsnest property owner Sue Aris. “Could we have not been notified of that one change that profoundly effects the management of our businesses?”
Distributing pink handouts to council members, a reference to the pink slips of old, Aris said council should have informed her about changes to the utility rate bylaw.
“I had two leases coming due July 1. In my advertising in May I advertised Rent for x amount of dollars without utilities,” says Aris. “I rented to tenants, now I face a renegotiation of the rent to included partial utilities or eat the municipal utilities, which I chose to do. Bottom line for me $1870,” she says.
CAO Sheldon Steinke says the Utility Rate Bylaw #889-2014 was given first reading on May 6th and second and third reading on May 20.
Because of an amendment to the bylaw, renters will not be allowed to have utility accounts, which means all utilities will be paid through the property owner.
continued below...


Non-payment of utilities has been a problem. Last year, $12,000 was added to municipal tax rolls because of unpaid utilities. When a renter’s account is overdue it is transferred to the property owner on their tax notice. This process can take up to four or five months.
Utility rate bylaws are decided yearly, says Steinke. This year, new renters will not be provided with a utility account after July 1 and all current utility accounts with renters will remain in effect until July 1, 2015.
After her presentation, Councillor Kovach apologized on behalf of council for not informing Aris of the change.
“We do apologize that we didn’t involve you in the decision,” said Kovach. “We should have. We didn’t think that the sewage and the garbage bill was a big thing because everybody has to pay it. It’s a set number and we didn’t think it would be a big deal adding it on to the rent.”
But some councilors expressed surprise at Aris’ complaint as the amendment protects property owners.
“I don’t understand her rational on it,” says Councillor Marlene Anctil of Aris’ concerns.
Anctil says that she herself is a landlord and that she would sometimes receive utility bills from defaulting tenants months after they had left, something not possible under the new system.
“I feel that a landlord has much more control over the tenant if they’re the one paying the utility bill and they then have to collect from the renter,” says Anctil “I don’t see anything wrong with it and I’m speaking as a landlord.”
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June 18th ~ Vol. 84 No. 24
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