After some deliberation their meeting Monday, September 12, High River Town Council has decided to postpone the second reading of the bylaw concerning the amendment to the bylaw around water utility rates in High River.
The decision came after reviewing feedback from two public information sessions held in August, and the current disagreement between Council members.
High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass says no one in council is satisfied with the current billing structure, and they're going to continue to discuss the proposed changes.
"None of us are completely happy with the way the bylaw is written right now, so we need to do some more work on that. I know we are probably going to have another couple meetings just to clarify with administration what our thoughts are."
Snodgrass is firm on his stance with updating the current utility rates, pointing out the need to change the winter averaging method, which calculates your payment rate throughout the year based on water utility usage in the winter months, where usage is lowest.
"Whatever the number is that we charge for water, wastewater and stormwater, it's how it's actually structured which is the debate in council right now. The winter averaging allows you to use the lowest rate possible in high usage months. That concept makes absolutely no sense to me. The crux is with snowbirds who are the biggest benefactors of that program as they use no water or wastewater in the winter time, and in the summer they can do whatever they want and pay the lowest rate. I'm not saying all of them do that, but the crux of the issue is whether it's a fair system and I do not believe it is, I think you should pay for what you use, regardless of what time of year it is."
Proposed changes to the amendment include a harmonization of rates paid by residential and commercial industrial usage on water and wastewater, a hike in fees for stormwater for business's and the removal of the winter averaging system.
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