Utility rates set to rise in March

Red Deer utility users can expect their water, wastewater, garbage, recycling and power rates to increase this year.

Red Deer utility users can expect their water, wastewater, garbage, recycling and power rates to increase this year.

City of Red Deer Development Services director Paul Goranson said that utility rates will be going up once again in March if council gives approval to a new utility bylaw.

Electric Light and Power rates are slated to jump an average of 6.5 per cent, the majority of the costs being driven by provincial transmission costs. The increase is on the distribution tariff that the city collects through its rates, Goranson said Tuesday during council’s city budget meeting.

Wastewater rates may rise an average 3.1 per cent.

Water rates may increase an average 5.9 per cent. Landfill tipping fees may rise 3.2 per cent ($2 per tonne increase) while garbage and yard waste collection may go up 1.3 per cent for residential and 5.2 per cent for multi-family and commercial users. Recycling collection is expected to rise by 2.7 per cent for residential and 6.3 per cent for multi-family users.

The rate increases come back for a bylaw change after the municipal operating budget is approved.

Goranson’s draft budget of $151.4 million revealed no major changes or cutbacks.

“It’s mainly a hold-the-line budget,” he said after presenting the budget to council.

Environmental Services will develop water conservation standards for city municipal buildings, as well as look at greening the city fleet.

It will also continue to do upgrades of the water treatment plant, as well as help implement the Waste Management Master Plan. Public Works will be monitoring the new Snow and Ice Control Policy implemented last year.

Goranson also spoke about the city’s two substantial contracts with Alberta Health Services — one is for dispatch of ambulances in the region. For dispatch, the city is expecting a revenue of just over $700,000 for providing dispatch and expenses of just over $400,000.

“It’s basically a short-term contract so we’ve budgeted again for this year that it would continue,” said Goranson.

The city also has a contract to provide ambulance services itself in the amount of five ambulances, 365-days a year.

That contract expires in April, so the city is in the midst of renegotiating that contract for five years with options to extend after that.

Emergency Services is requesting $45,000 since the city can no longer buy medication for use on ambulances through Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.