Water service fee rises five cents

Written by Terri Huxley

With the Shirley McClellan Regional Water Services Commission (SMRWSC) raising their prices for water usage, the County of Paintearth has chosen to do similar at the regular meeting on Tues. Feb. 17, 2021.

SMRWSC raised their rates from $2.60 cubic metres (m3) five cents to $2.65 m3.

The county’s water rate was set at $3.10 m3 for residents, $5 m3 for the truck fill and $2.20 m3 for the rural tank loaders.

There is also another $20 per month in water system reserve fees that cover the cost of infrastructure breaks and another $5 per month in monthly fixed charge that covers the cost of their metres.

Residential use was based on 2020 numbers. The total use was 10,950 m3 from 36 users, which added $33,947.17 in revenue for the county. 

The water system reserve fee brought in another $9,600 while the fixed charge brought in $2,160 for a total of $45,707.17 for 2020.

Operating costs for all residents are about $10.85 per m3.

Council passed administration’s recommendation to raise the water rate to $3.15 per m3 for residents ‘to keep pace with the SMRWSC’ and the remaining fees will remain the same.

911 Radio Tower

The Town of Coronation has secured a cheaper alternative radio tower to host the fire department’s fire signal equipment.

The total cost comes to $41,881.35 for the 120-foot tower as well as installation by the company who is selling the product.

Coronation council agreed to purchase the tower and have installation done at this price at their last meeting on Mon. Feb. 8.

Coronation Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Quinton Flint asked if Paintearth council would discuss the possibility of giving 50 per cent of this cost as the tower supports both Coronation and the County of Paintearth. 

Paintearth CAO Michael Simpson shared a couple of points to consider including there would be an additional $8,000 for geo-tech sampling and $1,500 for anti-climb panels.

The old radio equipment except for the antenna, two radio dishes and cables will be transferred from the Coronation water tower to the new tower once installed.

These pieces will be replaced and covered by a communications group.

The beauty of this new tower is that it allows the repeaters within the fire trucks to receive signal while in steep coulees where signal is normally gone or faint.

It will also support the area if the Fleet tower ever drops connection as well.

CAO Simpson said that the funds in the county’s fire reserve is normally set for fire truck replacements but felt this cost was well within their scope to provide funds if council wished.

Halkirk was next on the list to get a new fire truck in the scheduling cycle.

Council agreed they wanted to learn more about what was all involved and passed a motion to donate up to 50 per cent of the allotted quote.

Development fees/charges

It has been over 10 years since the last review and increases to the development fees and charges for planning, development and industry fees.

In view of the increased costs facing the county for advertising, administration, inspections and legal costs, a new schedule was proposed.

Council accepted the proposed changes to the fee structure as part of the fees and charges bylaw.

Fees will still not be required for agricultural buildings like barns, shops, bins as well as renovations that do not alter the structure of the building. 

Same with decks, dugouts and accessory buildings in hamlets less than 100 square feet.

For discretionary uses, $100 has been added to ensure people who are interested in doing one or more of these types of projects are serious about the permit process.

Discretionary uses for all industrial and commercial applications were raised from $200 to $400.

Permitted uses rose from $50 to $100.

No changes were made to re-zoning fees at $300.

Subdivision and development appeal fees were changed from $200 to $400 due to the increased costs to the municipality for engaging legal services to defend a permit when needed. 

Within the structure changes, it was mentioned that this will also put the onus on the appellant to make a strong case to prevent nuisance complaints and appeals.

Permit fee penalties are now set at $250 whereas it was formerly at 50 per cent of the fee.

Road plan closure

A request for an undeveloped road plan to be closed and returned to the title of NE19-38-10-W4 was discussed at council’s regular meeting on Jan. 12.

Council asked administration to come back with a resolution to view so they can be officially closed by Alberta Transportation.

This plan will also affect the NW20 to its immediate eastern border which was recommended to to be done at the same time. 

Council passed two resolutions to close these areas.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.