Nygaard, Chalifoux delay proposed water hike

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The cost of consuming water in Big Lakes County may be going up.

For the second successive year, water rates could increase as council strives to set rates that are cost recovery.

At its regular meeting March 13, council gave first two readings to the schedule of fees bylaw to increase the water rates to $7.20 per cubic metre from $7.06.

The rates would affect water charges for consumption metered from the water system, water co-ops not including county lines and truck fill rates.

One year ago, council raised the rate to $7.06 per from $6.78.

“During interim budget deliberations, the rate for potable water was adjusted to $7.20,” said Kevin Cymbaluk, director of operations.

“This needs to be reflected in the schedule of fees bylaw.”

Utility rates are updated in the schedule of fees in January for the new rates to take effect.

“It was an oversight,” Cymbaluk said.

The proposed increase was presented and discussed by council at a special meeting Dec. 4-5 to prepare the interim operating budget for 2024, he noted.

“Revenues from these rate increases would help offset expenses within water and wastewater budget sale of goods and services,” Cymbaluk said.

“New rates will take effect if third reading is given.”

The bylaw will be presented for third reading at a future meeting.

He noted the rate increase to consume water complies with the council’s strategic plan.

“Our strategic plan emphasizes sound financial management, efficient resource allocation and responsible decision-making,” Cymbaluk said.

A motion to go to third reading was defeated when Faust Councillor Robert Nygaard and Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux voted against.

To consider all three readings as proposed in one meeting, a motion to go to third reading must be unanimously passed by council, according the Municipal Government Act.

Reeve Tyler Airth, Enilda – Big Meadow Councillor Lane Mon- teith, North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk and Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin voted in favour.

Kinuso Councillor Roberta Hunt, South Gilwood – Sunset House Councillor Ann Stewart and Heart River – Salt Prairie Councillor Gar- rett were absent.

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