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Utility-rate increase reflects growth; Raymond CEO

Posted on January 20, 2014 by Westwind Weekly

Average costs for ratepayers on fees and charges in Magrath won’t be going up this year, but fees in Raymond weren’t that fortunate.

“With the fees and charges the vast majority stayed the same. The main area of increase was in the utilities and they weren’t large increases, but increases that just reflect growth,” explained Raymond’s chief administrative officer Scott Barton. “An example is with the water, we had to increase the cubic-metre consumption cost because water increased it to us.”

Other services, like garbage, went up nominally and basically reflect the increases in the cost to deliver services to a larger area than last year. Although it depends on how much services are utilized as to how much individual rates will go up, the average cost is expected to be $2 per month.

“What Raymond council has got into is tracking each, individual area (of rates) and then tries to bring a level of consistency (to yearly increases). It used to be they wouldn’t increase for a long period of time, and significantly at that, but now they just track and adjust it, based on what the data is showing,” Barton said of the rate calculation process.

“It should never lead to large increases and increases will just reflect the cost of delivering that service, whether gas or electricity prices go up, they should be more frequent and minimal.”

Services in Magrath were finalized, other than water, recently and the town was able to “hold the line on all rates and services this year,” said chief administrative officer Wade Alston.

“(We are) not up at all from last year,” Alston said. “The rates are basically staying the same. This includes recreational rates and sewer and garbage pick up.”

However town council is reviewing the costs of treated water, to residents, and a new decision regarding that will be made sometime this month.

“We usually have some increases,” said Alston. “But it was determined that is wasn’t necessary to increase the rates in 2014.”

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