Delia resident Tom Hamilton came to Delia council as a delegation.
Prior to the regular meeting on April 16, council received a list of questions from him so they would have time to gather answers for the presentation.
Hamilton questioned the billing system and rate for garbage pick up services.
He asked how this change from their former amount to the current amount came to be.
Mayor Sisley explained this was done due to pressure from the Public Utilities Board as the village was improperly charging before by stating that garbage services was a utility when it is actually considered a service.
“It’s being treated like any other service such as what the village offers the citizens like cleaning the streets and shovelling the snow and collecting the garbage and sending it down to the landfill in Drumheller and so on. That’s a service…” said Sisley.
“And part of the property owner’s responsibility for what you pay for as a property owner,” added Coun. Jordan Elliott.
To make everyone happy, council chose to make a fair levy for everyone: households and businesses – to be in line with the utilities commission.
They were faced with the decision to either take from the tax base which would be increased or raise the service charge for everyone.
“We aren’t saying it’s the best system but it’s the best one we could come up with,” said the mayor.
Council added that this levy being raised would overall be cheaper as the expenses do not come out of general operating funds.
They added that overall, residents may be paying $22 more for garbage services but are actually saving $17 per year in services.
They clarified this was not a tax but part of a requisition with the Drumheller and District Solid Waste Management which is based on every property in town whether these properties are vacant or occupied.
“I wanted to bring it up because just as an individual I hate taxes,” said Hamilton. “And I don’t mind paying my bulk water bill. I mean we use the water, I pay the water bill. I got no issue with services and paying for them. It’s just – I’m allergic to tax.”
Council asked how the current system may be letting residents down which he said he had no issues with other than one person in particular who has been sharing that taxes are going up.
Hamilton added that as a small town, everyone needs to come together, cooperate and avoid spreading misinformation.
“It really bothers me when nobody comes to council meetings and listen to the facts properly and then goes around town and tells everyone that their taxes are going up. And it makes us look bad as councillors like we just raised taxes out of nowhere when we definitely did not do that,” said Coun. Elliott.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracy Breese asked Hamilton how they can improve on this situation.
He suggested the message needs to be clear and be sent out more often to alert everyone.