At the Regular Council Meeting held on August 23, 2021, Council approved the amendment to the Town's Water and Wastewater Bylaw (02.17). The amendment addresses two issues: multiple water services for a single property; and a dedicated process water service for commercial and industrial properties that completely consume high amounts of water as part of their industrial process.
Public participation for the Water and Wastewater Bylaw (02.17) amendment was conducted during the second quarter. An online survey and a Public Hearing held on July 12, 2021, were used. The survey results, along with comments and other communication pieces from the public, were presented to Council and used in the decision-making process.
The two changes to the Water and Wastewater Bylaw (02.17) are:
- Adjustment of language to allow for multiple water services to a single property. This change brings flexibility into the bylaw to allow for alternative servicing options for multi-unit residential and commercial units intended for rental. This will allow for alternative development options and associated business opportunities for properties with multiple units within the Town.
- Billing for any additional water services, regardless of the number, would be treated the same as any other water service, i.e. billed on a base flat rate and a consumption rate.
- A commercial or industrial property, that uses significant water that is not returned to the wastewater system, may request a dedicated process water service that does not incur wastewater charges. All charges associated with the additional water service and water meter are the customer's responsibility.
- Prior to this change, several businesses in Drumheller have been paying sanitary fees without using the sanitary system. As such, they have been subsidizing the overall sanitary system.
- Currently, six businesses within Drumheller are potentially affected. Should all these businesses make use of this opportunity, it would represent an annual reduction in sewer revenue of approximately $63,000, or 3.2%. The cost of operating the sanitary sewer system needs to be spread out across all users, which would result in an estimated increase of 3% to sanitary rates. This will represent a nominal increase of $1.70 per month for an average residential property, depending on usage.
Scheduled annual fee increases aim to bring the utility into self-sufficiency to eventually build significant reserves for the eventual replacement of facilities and infrastructure. The adjustments to this plan and the associated rate changes will be developed as a part of the 2022 Utility Budget. The 2022 Utility Budget will be brought to Council for approval as part of the budget cycle.
The changes to the bylaw align with the Town's economic development priorities and continue to make the Town an attractive place to do business.