Council spent some time discussing the pros and cons of increasing the Fortis Franchise fee, before deciding to hold the line on the charge.
Council voted unanimously not to increase the fee, but Coun. Paul Payson initially voiced some concerns.
“I would say to do it here (increase it) and then keep our mill rate level.”
“Councillor Jack Webb agreed.
“I have the same concerns as Paul,” he said. “I don’t want to do it with the mill rate.”
“We are all dipping into our wallets a lot more,” said Coun. Matt Jaycox.
In her background report, CAO Lori Hillis noted that FortisAlberta has estimated that the town’s revenue will increase by $7,175 with the average annual residential bill increasing from $90.98 to $96.92; an increase of $5.94 per year.
If the franchise fee is increased by one per cent, the revenue will increase by $24,793 with the annual residential bill increasing from $90.98 to $103.85; an increase of $12.87 per year.
Last year the town increased the franchise fee from seven to 14 per cent. The estimated revenue for 2016 is $239,484.
Mayor Rick Pankiw said there was arguments on both sides, but he was in favour of keeping the fee increase at zero.
“We have even more economic hardship this year and as of Jan. 1 the dreaded carbon tax will be here. I would like to keep this at zero and our mill rate at zero. Is it possible? I don’t know.”
“I’d like it to stay at zero,” said Coun. Brian Godlongton. “Every little bit counts.”
Council also agreed to hold the line on franchise fees for Atco Gas and Pipelines Ltd.