March 24, 2015 - 7:27 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton city council said “humbug” to fee reductions after looking at electrical disconnect and reconnect fees at the March 16 council meeting.
Council looked at a report from staff outlining options to the present fee structure for disconnect and reconnects at the March 2 council meeting. Following that review, council asked staff to look at options for a lower disconnect fee if the electric bill in arrears was less than $100, and a proportionate charge if staff only make one visit to the home.
Staff reported to council on March 16 the city acted on 516 residences last year with bills of $50 to $99 in arrears, recovering $35,088 in fees. Under the proposed structure, only $15,351 would be collected.
Council discovered changing the present $68 flat fee for disconnecting and reconnecting to the proposed fee of $34, and reducing the charge for a site visit without a disconnect to $34 from $68 would create a budget deficit of $22,168. The city currently recovers $89,000 in total through the present fee structure.
An alternative proposal to reduce only the fee paid for a staff on-site visit where no disconnection was made to $34 would see the potential $22,168 deficit drop by only $9,000 annually, staff reported.
Council did not appear to be comfortable with the idea of losing revenue through reduced fees, Mayor Andrew Jakubeit the lone dissenter.
“I would have liked to have seen other recommendations that would help those having a tough go of it. That’s my reason for not supporting this,” he said as the motion to accept the alternative proposal was passed by the rest of council.
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