November 2nd, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 47
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Town utility rate increase update
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
In August, council weathered a storm of criticism from Crowsnest business owners facing dramatic increases to their water bills.

“Our bimonthly total will change from $109.29 to $593.68. While I completely understand increases occur, this is an unimaginable hike,” said Susan Douglas-Murray, owner of the Crowsnest Café and Fly Shop.

The anticipated increase in water tariffs was expected to be 7.5 per cent but some Crowsnest business owners saw their bimonthly utility rates for commercial water, wastewater and recycling fees charged by the municipality increase by over 600 per cent.

The increases were due to the regrouping of businesses and residents into nine classifications based on their expected water usages.

At a Governance and Priorities Meeting on Sept. 13, the mayor and council said the sizes of the increases had been unintended and that Bylaw 951, 2016 – Utility Rate Class Changes would need to be amended.
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At a council meeting on Oct. 26, council heard first reading of a new utility rate bylaw designed to undo some of the damage caused by the old one.

Bylaw 969, 2016, the new Fees, Rates and Charges Bylaw, will repeal Bylaw 951, 2016.

The new bylaw will make all fees related to water, wastewater, solid waste and recycling retroactive to July 1, 2016.

It also refines the classification system to try and ensure bills for water usage are applied fairly.

Legions, snack bars and meeting halls are being reclassified while restaurants are being split into three classes based on seating capacity.
Those with more seats will pay a higher water tariff. Restaurants with less than 20 seats will face a 7.5 per cent rate increase from $29.01 per month to $31.19 per month. Restaurants with less than 50 seats will pay $62.38 per month, up from $58.02.
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Restaurants with 50 or more seats will pay $124.76 per month, up from $116.04.

Furthermore, the provision stating that accounts must remain active throughout the year is being removed, allowing seasonal businesses and residents to open and close their accounts as needed.

Second reading will take place at the Nov. 22 council meeting. The new bylaw will take effect after its third and final reading.
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November 2nd ~ Vol. 85 No. 47
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