Chestermere, AB - At their meeting earlier today, City Council made major changes to local City of Chestermere utility rates.
“On behalf of City Council, I am very pleased to announce an 8% utility rate reduction for our community,” says Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “Residents gave Council a mandate to bring relief from high utility rates. Today, we made that happen.”
The work to cut rates began from City Council’s very first days in office. Tasked by voters to find a better path forward, Council decided last fall that the status quo of Chestermere Utilities Inc. (CUI) would no longer be a viable option.
In June, Council announced that they would dissolve the company and that the City would provide utility services to residents. A shell corporation will continue to exist in order to hold the debt of CUI separate from the City. The shell corporation will not be allowed to incur any new debt but the new legal structure helps ensure that the City retains flexibility to pursue municipal projects such as transportation and recreation in the future.
“Now that we have a new, sustainable path forward for the delivery of utility services in Chestermere, I am very pleased that we have found the efficiencies needed to reduce utility rates for our community,” says Mayor Chalmers.
The decrease is the cumulative impact of making utility rate changes to the fees for water, sewage and stormwater management. The rate changes will take effect August 1 and will be visible on the August bill (that is sent to residents in September).
As part of their work to find ways to reduce utility rates, City staff also found that residents are currently being charged a ‘lifecycle fund’ fee.
“In reviewing the CUI rate application as part of the transition to the City, we discovered that this fee should have ended six months ago,” says Brenda Hewko, the City’s Chief Financial Officer. She explains that residents will be reimbursed for this overcharge and a one-time credit will be included in the July bill (that is sent to residents in August).
“This is just one example of the work that is being done to find new ways to improve efficiencies, reduce rates and bring stability to utility services in Chestermere,” says Chalmers. “As we continue to transition utility services, we will keep working hard to end unsustainable practices and improve services to residents.”
Committed to improving efficiencies across all services, City Council also announced a 2% cut to municipal taxes earlier this year.
“These decisions are part of Council’s work to be responsive to residents, to make Chestermere a more affordable and sustainable place to call home, and create an amazing community for both residents and businesses,” says Chalmers.
For more information on the utility rate decrease and other decisions about utilities in Chestermere, visit www.chestermere.ca/utilities.