At the Regular Council Meeting on Monday, November 6, 2023, the 2024 Utility Operating Budget and 3-Year Operating Financial Plan were adopted by Council as presented. Each Council must adopt an operating budget for each calendar year, as per section 242 of the Municipal Government Act. The 3-Year Operating Financial Plan provides a basis for annual Operating Budgets for three-year periods and aligns with provincial and federal requirements for multi-year financial planning.
The water budget includes a 3.0% increase in user fees. Under this proposal, the water rate will increase from $2.2386 per cubic meter currently, to $2.3058 per cubic meter in 2024. The monthly meter changes will also see a 3.0% increase, which means that residents will see an increase from $17.57 to $18.10 per month on all active accounts. When compared to nine municipalities similar in size, it was determined that the Town of Drumheller’s water rates have a 5.6% lower cost.
The proposed 2024 wastewater budget includes a 6.0% increase in user fees. Under this proposal, the wastewater rate will increase from $2.4131 per cubic metre currently to $2.5579 per cubic metre in 2024. Generally, residents will see an increase from $15.01 in 2023 to $15.91 in 2024. The Town of Drumheller’s wastewater rates represented a 13% lower cost when compared to nine municipalities of similar populations.
“The Town of Drumheller operates an efficient water and wastewater utility for the residents of the Valley, as well as our customers on the regional water lines. The rate increases are in line with the utility rate model approved last year and are required with upcoming improvements required to both the water and wastewater systems in town that will ensure we provide safe, clean drinking water to our customers and clean effluent to our downstream neighbours.” says Darryl Drohomerski, CAO.
In 2023, solid waste and recycling activities were moved from the Tax-Funded Budget to the Utility-Funded Budget. This change is consistent with the practices in other municipalities across the province and contributes to a sustainable business model. The proposed 2024 solid waste and recycling fees include a 3.0% increase. Residents will see an increase in solid waste from $8.00 to $8.24 per month, and an increase in recycling from $3.00 to $3.09 per month.
Both the water and wastewater rates are based on the utility rate model adopted in 2022. Scheduled annual fee increases aim to bring the utilities into self-sufficiency to aid in building reserves for the eventual replacement of facilities and infrastructure.