Fees increasing to cost recovery

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Some user fees in Big Lakes County have been increased and added.
At its regular meeting Feb. 9, council adopted the schedule of fees bylaw after council discussed the draft bylaw Jan. 26.
The bylaw clarifies water connection fees.
A water connection fee of $8,000 will be applied for each connection to an existing line on non-debentured property.
However, the fee has not changed.
No fee will be charged for debentured property.
“At the Jan. 26 meeting, council directed administration to clarify the fee description for water connection fees, specifically to clarify that debentured lots have no fee to connect,” CAO Jordan Panasiuk says.
Construction deposits will still apply, he notes.
The bylaw also increases water rates to $6.78 per cubic metre from $6.05.
Council suggested the increase during its interim budget meeting Dec. 15-16.
At that meeting, council supported a water rate increase since the previous rates didn’t cover the costs for the county to break even, the CAO says.
“Council discussed increasing water rates this year and next year to move the water rates to cover the operations and maintenance expenses of our water system,” Panasiuk says.
Fees for dust control on gravel roads also increase to recover more of the costs to the county.
For the first application for 150m, residents are charged 100 per cent of the actual cost of the full service.
Cost of the first application rises cost to about $658 from the previous charge of $494.
Residents will now pay for the costs of calcium, the water truck, grader, staking and pilot truck.
Previously, residents paid for 100 per cent the cost of calcium only,
For the second application, residents pay 100 per cent of the cost of the calcium only, up from 75 per cent of the costs of calcium for 150m.
As a result, the fee rises to about $514.50 per 150m from $370.50.
The bylaw also adds a $500 application fee each to amend the land-use bylaw, the municipal development plan, an area structure plan and the inter-municipal development plan.
Previously, a $500 fee is charged only to apply to amend the land-use bylaw.
Choudhary says a flat fee is consistent with the existing land-use bylaw amendment fee.
Sometimes an applicant requires amendments to all documents, says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.
“Those don’t happen often,” Olansky says.

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