Ashcroft reconsiders Senior’s Discount

Ashcroft Council is considering reducing the 25 per cent discount on utilities to 10 per cent rather than eliminating it completely.

About 15 residents attended the Sept. 14 Ashcroft Council meeting, most of them visibly unhappy with Council’s intention to raise utility costs and eliminate the seniors 25 per cent discount.

By the end of the meeting, Council had passed first readings of the new bylaws that would enact the rate changes, but it is also considering reducing the seniors discount rather than eliminating it altogether.

Mayor Jack Jeyes introduced the discussion by reading a letter he sent to The Journal (on page 4). He also read from The Village’s Economic Development strategy and of the need to make the Village attractive to young adults and their families.

Coun. Alf Trill said he was not totally opposed to reducing the discount, “but I don’t want to see it gone.”

Coun. Barbara Roden said she looked into what other communities did. Most, she said, didn’t offer a senior’s discount and many didn’t offer a discount for early payment.

Although Council passed the first readings of Sewer Bylaw 796, Water Bylaw 797 and Solid Waste amendment Bylaw 798 with changes to the rates and the discount, the bylaws need to go through two more readings before they are enacted, and they can still be changed.

Roden suggested that the Senior’s Discount be changed in the bylaws for the second reading so that they are only reduced from 25 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020.

The rates, however, will still go up for everyone.

The sewer rate for a single family dwelling or mobile home goes from $313 per year in 2015 and 2016 to $344 in 2017, $378 by 2018; $416 by 2019; $454 by 2020; and $504 by 2021.

The figures provided to the councillors by staff seemed elusive at times as they tried to understand how they were arrived at.

If we’re going to take away senior discount, said Coun. Al Mertens, we are making more money and we should reduce the rates for everyone, otherwise there’s a windfall. In effect, he said, 50 per cent of the taxpayers are putting in more money because they no longer have the discount.

Administrator Michelle Allen said the Village should be short by $150 per billing if the Seniors Discount stayed, and that shortage would have to be made up by the other utility users.

After more discussion, it was determined that not eliminating the Seniors Discount would put the Village in a deficit position.

“I did not know that,” said Mertens.

“Of course we would,” replied Jeyes.

Staff was asked to draw up a new table of figures based on the revised discount for th next Council meeting.

Water rates will go up the most, nearly doubling by 2020. According to Bylaw 797, the annual rate for a single family or a mobile home is $274 in 2015; $315 in 2016; $362 in 2017; $416 in 2018; $478 in 2019; $550 in 2020.

Roden thanked staff and the previous Council for starting the ball rolling for the new water treatment plant.

At some point, she said, Interior Health would have told the Village to build a new plant ad it would have been a rush to get it done.

Water is vitally important to everyone, said Roden.

“Hardly anyone in the province pays what it actually costs to get water,” she said. “We wouldn’t survive three days without water.”

Just Posted

Highway 97 has reopened after single-vehicle incident

UPDATE (1:47 p.m.): The highway has reopened. CLEAR - #BCHwy97 at #BegbieSummit… Continue reading

McAbee Fossil Beds site ready to reopen to the public

Site was taken over by the Province and closed to the public in July 2012

Open houses will give residents chance to voice views on new Eco-Depot

TNRD will be answering questions, soliciting feedback about Ashcroft/Cache Creek Eco-Depot

BC Hydro scam targeting local businesses

Scammer claims to be on his way to businesses to cut the power unless payment is made

Ashcroft Village Council highlights

Dog park discussion, grant approval, Canada Day celebrations and more

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read