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RFD- 4040 Bylaws   Item #   10. a.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda   
Meeting Date: 12/14/2020  
Title:    C-1129-20 - 2021 Fees and Charges Bylaw - Third Reading - Frostad
Department: Corporate Services  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal: Spruce Grove has a robust, growing economic base that generates increased revenues to support the City’s high standards for services and programs.

Request for Decision Summary
Third reading of Bylaw C-1129-20 is being brought forward for Council's consideration.  This bylaw authorizes the 2021 fees for water, wastewater and waste management, transit, the cemetery and tribute park, fines and penalties and other general administrative services.  

Proposed Motion
That third reading be given to Bylaw C-1129-20 - 2021 Fees and Charges Bylaw.
The approved 2021-2023 Corporate Plan proposed a utility rate increase of 2% in 2021 to meet the operating and capital costs.  The impact on a household with an average monthly consumption of 14 cubic meters would be $1.70/month ($20.40/year).

Utility rates are partially driven by the cost of purchasing water and processing wastewater.  The Capital Region Parkland Water Services Commission has projected a 2021 rate of $2.07/m3 to their Board (5% increase from 2020).  Administration for the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission have advised they are proposing a 2021 rate of $1.36/m3 to their Board in early December (10% increase from 2020), which is likely to be lower than proposed after deliberations.

In addition to water and wastewater costs, the utility rate increase reflects infrastructure maintenance and replacement (lifecycling), market cost of construction and maintenance, or a surplus balance to mitigate lifecycling and urgent infrastructure needs.

Other services proposed to include a 2% increase due to delivery cost drives include:
  • Supply of water service only to Parkland County - $3.573/m3;
  • Supply of water and wastewater for the purpose of new land development - $953/ha;
  • Supply of wastewater service only - $26.19/unit/month;
  • City of Spruce Grove bulk water station - $6.207/m3;
  • Snow Dumping - Loads up to and including tandem axle truck (per load) - $40.00; and
  • Snow Dumping - Loads over tandem axle truck (per load) - $80.00.
The utility increases included in this list are part of the overall 2% increase required in the utility bylaw.

Other explanations of changes include the following:
  • Section 2.7 - The City signed a new contract with Parkland County to provide transit service under which the City bills the County a monthly fee for service to Acheson.
  • Section 8.3d - Notice of penalties for late payment will no longer be mailed to the customer but will appear on the customers utility bill.  These two documents were arriving in mailboxes simultaneously and were requiring two separate processes.  With the new utility billing format the notice will appear on the bill and will create time and cost efficiencies in City processes.
  • Schedule A (RCMP Fees) - These fees have been removed as the Town of Stony Plain now administers these fees and subsequently pays the City for a share of the revenue.
  • Schedule B (Snow Dumping Definition update) - The description of these fees has been changed to simplify the pricing structure as 99% of trucks hauling snow fall into the tandem or end-dump category.
Utility rates could be frozen to 2020 levels, however, the cost to the City would be over $323,000, which would set back the efforts of lifecycling and force the City to absorb other delivery agents cost increases.

The City has not proposed any changes to the Solid Waste Utility as the cost drivers have not increased for that utility for 2021.  The Stormwater Utility Fee was only recently introduced and as such is not being brought forward for increase at this time.  The Electric Franchise Fee has already reached its maximum rate.
Utility rates are incorporated into the 2021-2023 Corporate Plan.  Finalization of these rates was part of the broader Corporate Plan discussion, which was approved by Council on November 23, 2020.  
Communication of the utility rates increase will occur through the Examiner, City of Spruce Grove website, social media outlets and on the utility bill to be issued in early January.  Notice has been given to Parkland County of the proposed rate increase for 2021.
This approach is in alignment with the City's Fiscal Sustainability and Principles approach and ensures that the City can effectively deliver services in these program areas into the future.

Fiscal Impact
Financial Implications:
Utility operations and capital projects are funded with utility revenue.  Neither grants nor taxes are used to subsidize rates.
2021 Fees and Charges Bylaw
2021 Fees and Charges Bylaw Redline Copy

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