Franchise fee given go-ahead by council

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  • Sep. 20, 2011 8:00 a.m.

By Treena Mielke

Council will go ahead with a FortisAlberta franchise fee next year despite opposition from one councillor.

Council decided Sept. 12 to continue with the seven-per-cent franchise fee that generates $67,230 and results in residential customers being charged $2.94 per month.

Coun. Joe Anglin was the lone councillor to oppose the fee and made a motion to eliminate it completely.

“I don’t like hidden taxes,” he said. “We could replace it by cutting spending or increasing our mill rate.”

However, Coun. Paul Payson disagreed.

“It seems most logical to me to keep it where it is.”

Payson doesn’t believe the franchise fee to be a hidden tax.

“Hidden taxes are when we fill up at the gas pumps and don’t know where the taxes are going,” he said.

In a report to council, Danita Deal, with the town’s finance department, said the surcharge has remained the same since 2004 and an average of $65,000 per year has been collected.

Similar sized communities have a range in their fees up to 10 per cent, she said. Provincially, municipalities’ franchise fees range up to 20 per cent.