In the past, residents who were away from their homes for an extended period of time during the winter could have the Town shut-off their water and avoid utility payments while they were away. “This practice did not recognize the continuing services the Town provides even while these individuals are away,” said Councillor Don Moore, who put forth the motion. “The underground infrastructure for their water and waste water continues to be maintained, meter readings are still done and the solid waste schedule is still implemented for their streets.”
“There are many people who take two or three week vacations throughout the year and continue to pay utility costs even while they are absent from home,” added Moore. “The decision to implement a standard fee reflects council’s goal to provide high quality, sustainable services for the community.”
The change in utility fee assessment reflects the Town’s commitment to attain full-cost recovery of its utility services. “We want to ensure that utility fees remain equitable for all residents and that we continue to be able to meet utility needs as the town grows,” explained Mayor Emile Blokland.
The total fee is only $176 for the six months between October to April and impacts less than 80 residents who live away from High River during this time. If they choose, they can also continue to have their water shut off at the street level for an additional $75 disconnect fee. The same fee will be assessed when they reconnect it. This flat fee will be assessed regardless of whether residents choose to temporarily disconnect their water.
The new process will also ensure that utility rates in the summer are equitably distributed as summer waste water rates are based on winter consumption. The new process will be implemented for the next billing period, in November. For more information contact the Town Office at 403.652.2110.