The Town of Vermilion announced a potential increase of their 2021 utility franchise fees this week.
The proposal was put forward to bring the current rates to the average of neighbouring communities.
A motion was passed during Tuesday’s council meeting regarding the tentative increase, and will follow a waiting period providing the opportunity for the public to provide input.
Residents will have until October 2, to submit written comments before a final decision is made.
The proposal includes an electricity increase from 6 – 8 percent, and a natural gas increase from 17 – 22 per cent. The potential impact for an average household per month would be $2.46 for electricity and $2.20 for natural gas.
“I thinks it’s a reasonable increase for the average household, and I look forward to hearing what the community has to say,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.
Written staff recommendations said that franchise fees at this level provide an alternate funding source to property tax.
From the potential increase, the Town of Vermilion would receive an additional annual revenue of an estimated $175,000.
If the changes are approved at the municipal level, they would also be forwarded to ATCO and then the Alberta Utilities Commission for approval.
The town’s intended target for the additional funds would be to support broadband. Broadband has been a high priority for town council over the past few years.