Residents of the Town of Bonnyville will see an increase to their utility and garbage rates for 2016. The Town decided to implement a system of small annual increases a few years ago, reports Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, as a way of gradually introducing higher rates and keeping in line with the increasing costs of associated with providing these services.
“It’s a small rate increase, but it’s something that we put in place three or four years ago,” explains the Mayor, “so instead of having these spikes [in rates]. Where you hold the line and all of a sudden a few years later you have a spike. What we do is a very marginal increase every year to avoid those spikes.”
Mayor Sobolewski explains water utilities and garbage pick up are, “still quite subsidized by the Town.” The increase works out to about eleven cents a month in the utility rate, seven cents for garbage collection, and an additional two cents per cubic metre in water usage rate. Although, it sounds like pennies, the Mayor is explains the Town is sympathetic to the impact the increase will have on those living on fixed incomes, such as seniors. “I wouldn’t say [the increase] is almost nothing, because for the seniors it will be a big deal and have an impact.”
There’s a lot of outside factors contributing to the increase; such as chemical costs and power rates, which the Mayor reports are, “forever increasing.” The Town must continue to increase rates on its end to cover the additional costs associated with these.