Costing more to live in Bentley

It will cost a little more to live in Bentley in the coming years.

It will cost a little more to live in Bentley in the coming years.

At a town council meeting March 12, a bylaw setting the fees for water and sewer collection to commence May 1 was passed. There is a need to cover costs of upgrades and expansions.

The water rate for 2013 will go up from $34.89 to $41.90 for the first 27 cubic meters or portion thereof (a 20-per-cent increase) and there will be a steady increase of approximately five-per-cent each year starting from the 2013 rate and increasing each year for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. That translates into $44 on May 1, 2014 $46.20 in 2015, $48.50 in 2016 and $50.95 in 2017 — an approximate increase of 45 percent above the 2012 rate.

The charges for water used over the first 27 cubic meters will also see the same type of increase. It will increase from 59 cents per additional cubic metre in 2012 to 90 cents effective May 1, 2013 and continue to rise at approximately five per cent each year making the charge 95 cents per additional cubic metre in 2014, $1 in 2015, $1.05 in 2016, and $1.10 in 2017.

Sewer rates will also increase the same way. Effective May 1, 2013, sewer rates are $33.40 per residential or business unit and $100.20 per institutional unit, up about 20 per cent from the $26.73 per residential or business unit and the $82 per institutional unit in 2012. A steady five-per-cent increase in charges will continue through 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2013 the residential rate is $33.40. In 2017 it will be $40.65. The institutional rate is $100.20 and will become $121.70.

Billings are bi-monthly.

Town CAO Elizabeth Smart had a different way to keep the charges for town utilities in perspective. “It will (now) cost less than $2 a day for residences for all three (town utilities) — water and sewer and garbage collection,” she says. “Where else can you get that kind of service for less than $2 per day?”

Bulk water and counter sales will see similar increases as well. The rate increases from $33.56 for the first eight cubic metres of water in 2012 to $43.65 effective May 1, 2013, and the additional cubic metre rate over the first eight cubic meters will go from $4.02 in 2012 to $6.85 in 2013 (an approximate increase of 30 per cent) and will continue to increase approximately five per cent for each of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The charge per cubic meter for water over the initial eight cubic metres will go from $4.02 or portion thereof in 2012 to $7.95 for 2017.

This is billed monthly.

The 2013 taxation year mill rates were set at the April 9 regular Bentley town council meeting. The residential and farmland rate went up slightly from 8.98 mills in 2012 to 9.50 mills, and the non-residential rate went from 12.77 to 13.50 mills.

The rate to cover the requisition for the Alberta School Foundation Fund decreased ever so slightly to 2.74 from 2.785 mills in 2912 for residential/farmland and from 4.169 mills to 3.88 on non-residential property.

The total assessed value of property including residential/farmland, non- residential property and the value of machinery and equipment in Bentley dropped slightly for 2013. The total value went from $99,263,280 to $98,868,430 despite the non-residential value increasing from $12,574,890 to $13,128,630.

For the first time in the town’s history, Bentley residents will see a franchise fee added on to each of their Fortis power bills in 2013.

At the Oct. 9, 2012 regular town council meeting, council approved a 10-per-cent electric distribution franchise fee through Fortis Alberta to be levied on Bentley ratepayers for 2013. Fortis will collect the fees and turn them over to the town. This practice has been common for a number of years in many other municipalities but Bentley had historically opted out of the practice.