Council hikes utility rates effective Jan. 1

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It is going to cost High Prairie residents a little money in the new year to drink a glass of water or take a shower.
And to get rid of excess water.
Council decided at its Sept. 14 meeting to raise all utility rates [water, sewer and gas] in an effort to provide the service at a cost recovery level.
The increase differs depending on usage. They are as follows:

  • The current flat rate price of $15 per month rises to $20 per month Jan. 1, 2022 and $24 a month Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Mobile homes without water meters are currently charged $125 per month. The rate rises to $130 per month Jan.1, 2022 and $134 a month Jan. 1, 2023.
  • The price for bulk water [truck fill] rates is currently $2.25 per 10 gallons or $4.75 per cubic metre. The rate rises to $5.25 per cubic metre Jan. 1, 2022 and increases to $5.50 per cubic meter Jan. 1, 2023.
  • The flat rate charge for sewer is $30 per month. The rate rises to $35 per month Jan. 1, 2022 and $41 per month Jan.1, 2023.
  • The current flat rate for natural gas is $20 per month but rises to $25 per month Jan. 1, 2022.
    Council was presented with several options at the meeting but decided on the rates as recommended. Council was no longer willing to provide the service and lose money.
    The rates affect the average home owner very little as only the basic monthly fees apply. Extra charges kick in to $4.30 per cubic metre on Jan. 1, 2024 but only if a household uses over 50 cubic metres of water a month which is extremely rare.
    However, the big water users like Alberta Health Services, Heart River Foundation and Northern Lakes College will see their bills increase most. Or, as Councillor Brian Gilroy said, pay their “fair share”.
    “It’s time to make those changes,” said Coucillor Michael Long.
    “If we keep putting off this increase. . .if we don’t generate enough revenue then we’re really doing a disservice to the residents and businesses of High Prairie and the infrastructure will fall apart.
    “The hospital needs to pay,” he added agreeing with Gilroy.
    Councillor Judy Stenhouse did not disagree, but pointed out the requisition from the school boards would simply rise to cover the cost and the taxpayer would still pay. In regard to the hospital, the provincial government would raise taxes to cover the cost.

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