Clive franchise fees remain stable

Clive council, held on Mon. Sept. 10, saw a clear solution to the current franchise fee rates within the village.

Franchise fees are a fee that a person pays into in order to operate a franchise branch of a larger company and enjoy the profits and/or services.

In return, the person who pays into the system may enjoy the use of the franchisor’s system and name for a limited time as well as assistance if needed. The fees also provide an alternative revenue stream for municipalities to add to their yearly budgets that get put back into the community.

The Village of Clive implemented a franchise fee of 9.00 per cent in 2012 with Fortis. The Atco Gas Franchise Fee is currently 16.17 per cent.

The franchise fees are calculated on the distribution revenue from the delivery of energy to customers within the Village of Clive and does not include the cost of energy.

Clive residents pay the franchise fees to their energy provider where it shows up as a line item called Municipal Franchise Fee on the individual’s energy bill.

The maximum electricity franchise fee a municipality can charge is 20 per cent and the maximum natural gas franchise fee a Municipality can charge is 35 per cent.

In 2017, the Fortis franchise fee remitted $32,072 to the village and ATCO’s franchise fee brought in $33,089.

Despite all the numbers, residents are rest assured there will be no real change in their electric bill. Councillor Jeremy Whelan did foreshadow a possible slight rise in water usage and garbage disposal.

Keeping this cost level would help alleviate the influx in taxes.

“Unless we had some major project we know we wanted where we have to raise some additional revenue, then we would need to change it,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Carla Kenney.

Council made a motion to keep the franchise fee as the same rate for 2019 as is in 2018 which was unanimously carried.

Since the franchise rate will now remain the same, Clive’s annual franchise fees will increase or decrease by the amount that Fortis and Atco’s distribution rates change.

For every 1 per cent increase in the Franchise Fee Rate it is estimated to result in $0.89 per month or $10.68 per year increase in a residential power bill and a $3,978 increase in the Village’s annual franchise fee collection.

Friendly Workplaces Act additions

CAO Kenney brought forth some unfinished business regarding how the village compensates and regulates employee standards within the workplace to keep in line with the provincial government’s changes to the Friendly Workplaces Act.

This act governs things like vacation pay, benefits, compensation, employment practices, rights, and health and safety.

‘Immediate family members of Councillors, the Chief Administrative Officer, and department heads are not eligible for hire’ was stricken from the village’s act, allowing relatives to become a part of the village if they so choose to find a career there.

Under the Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs section, council ran in to a grey area of prescription marijuana and the rules surrounding it.

Employees must make it known to employers if they require any prescription during work hours and how that will affect themselves, according to councillor Jeremy Whelan.

When cannabis becomes legal, an employee does not necessarily have to disclose recreational use.

The use of cannabis on the worksite was a large part of the conversation as many factors must be considered.

Whelan said “It’s only if they have to take their prescription during work hours. If they are prescribed for ‘Hey, I need to have this to go to sleep at night,’ they are not supposed to be using that at work so then that’s where you kind of run into that almost grey area. Or it comes down to an incident where they have to do a urine test if they haven’t told you previously that they have a prescription and they failed their urine test. They still can be terminated, they have to be open and honest with the employer.”

Mayor Lucienne Henri added that they must be accommodating when prescriptions are disclosed.

“We have to do our very best. OK so they could be drowsy at 2:00 if that is the time they have to take it so what can we get them to do that isn’t dangerous even though they are on it so there is quite a bit to the cannabis stuff still,” said Henri.

Vacation pay was ‘better’ than before as the employment standards act has now changed to 12 per cent. A section of the act was brought to attention about employees having CPR and First Aid training.

Mayor Lucienne Henri asked administration to check and make sure employees are not obligated to do so or else they will need to get that certification immediately. The minimum wage will be increasing from $13.60 per hour to $15 per hour as of October 1 in two weeks.

All employees working for the village have already reached that threshold so no changes in wages will be seen when October 1 begins.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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