The Town of Castor council began the process to increase both sewer and garbage rates at their Oct. 26 regular meeting.
The meeting agenda included an item named “Bylaw 1071 Amended Utility Bylaw,” which was described by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee.
It was proposed in the amended bylaw to increase residential sewer charges from $25 a month to $30 a month.
It was also noted that any customer that wasn’t considered residential would either pay 25 per cent of their monthly water bill as their sewer charge or an increase to $30, whichever was higher.
It was also proposed to increase the monthly charge on garbage pick-up.
The amended bylaw proposed increasing commercial, industrial or institutional customers that receive five garbage pick-ups a week pay an increased $100 fee per month, up from $71.
Those same customers that receive two garbage pick-ups a week would pay an increased $50 fee a month, up from $36.
It was proposed that residential customers, along with commercial customers, which receive one garbage pick-up per week would pay an increased $23 per month, up from $18.
Robblee explained that if the proposed rate increases were approved, the departments wouldn’t run at a loss.
The CAO stated some research was done into what private garbage collection would cost and he stated a private company might charge a commercial customer about $62 a week. The proposed $100 a month would be substantially lower than that, he added.
Robblee noted that more details will be included in future versions of the bylaw but the staff won’t have time to fully update this bylaw in 2020 so just the rate increases were brought forward so that there would be time to advertise the proposed changes, then bring back the amended bylaw for second and third reading in November, 2020.
Mayor Richard Elhard stated increasing the sewer and garbage rates to keep the departments financially balanced seemed to be the right thing to do.
“Nobody likes a rate increase, I know that, but we can’t operate at a loss either,” said the mayor.
Councillors approved first reading of the amended bylaw. It will now be publicly advertised and come back to council at a future meeting.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter