By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coaldale town council is holding off approving their new utility rate bylaw pending amendments.
During a special Dec. 16 meeting, Coaldale town council reviewed the proposed 2020 Utility Bylaw.
Bylaw 772-R-12-19 Utility Rates sets the utility rates in Coaldale for 2020.
According to administration, the rates are maintained at 2019 levels, meaning there is a zero per cent increase in rates.
Coun. Henry ‘Butch’ Pauls asked for clarification around section 5.1 on page five of the bylaw, which reads “Domestic Consumers shall be billed: $29.50 per calendar month for one (1) solid waste and recycle pick-up per week January 1, 2020”.
Kyle Beauchamp, director of corporate services for the town, said that it wasn’t only one pick-up per month, but it was rather the monthly charge for waste pick-up.
CAO Kalen Hastings also noted that waste pick-up did not go every week in Coaldale, but rather every other week.
“The service level, there is no intent for it to change from what is currently in place,” said Hastings.
Coun. Bill Chapman noted that section 5.2, regarding rates for commercial consumers, uses similar language and asked if that should be changed as well.
Beauchamp noted that there are some differences for commercial consumers, so they won’t be using the same wording, but they will make sure it is accurate.
Chapman noted that there is no wording for section 4.3, on out-of-town consumers. Beauchamp said he would look into it and confirm it.
Council passed first reading as amended in a split 6-1 vote, with coun. Roger Hohm voting against. Council also passed second reading in a split 6-1 vote, with Hohm voting against. Hohm said he wanted to make sure they “got the wording right”, before he votes on it.
With Hohm voting against the bylaw, council did not have the needed votes to pass a motion for unanimous consent before they move onto the third and final reading. Coun. Jacen Abrey asked what the implications would be if they waited until their first meeting in January to see the changes that have been made before they approve the bylaw, noting that the town’s new service provider starts Jan. 1. Beauchamp said council would have to consider maintaining the 2019 Utility Rate bylaw until this one gets approved.
“There must be something in place to charge utilities next year, so just maintaining what we have in the interim would suffice,” said Beauchamp.
Mayor Kim Craig said that the contract with their provider isn’t dictated by the utility rate bylaw, as they already have a service level agreement with them, so they will continue to provide service as per their contract. Hastings added that since council has indicated that there would be an increase in rates in 2020 from 2019, from a billing perspective it shouldn’t be problematic.
Council unaminiously passed a motion for administration to bring back the amended bylaw to council for review at their first January council meeting, set to take place on Jan. 13.