Falher council freezes fees in 2022

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Falher town council has decided to freeze franchise fees for ATCO Electric and ATCO Gas.
At its regular meeting Sept. 20, council passed a motion to keep the fees the same in 2022.
“I suggest we leave it for another year,” Mayor Donna Buchinski says as council discussed the matter.
“Last year, we left them the same.”
Council decided to maintain the franchise fees for ATCO Electric at seven per cent and for ATCO Gas at 17 per cent.
Buchinksi says the franchise fee can remain the same even if council considers a bigger budget in 2022.
“If we want to increase the budget, we should leave them alone,” Buchinski says.
She explained what a franchise fee is after one councillor asked its purpose.
“It helps them pay for their taxes and it helps the town,” Buchinski says.
CAO James Bell says the ATCO Electric franchise fee generated revenue of $73,021.27 for Falher in 2020 and is expected to increase to $87,920.42 in 2022.
The franchise fee for ATCO Gas generated revenue of $57,886.70 in 2020.
Bell projects that to increase to $75,029.67 in 2022.
Franchise fees cover the real estate in the town for ATCO to provide services, he explains.
A franchise fee recovers the cost of the utility companies’ use of public space for energy infrastructure such as power lines or gas pipelines.

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