The City of Fort Saskatchewan can now help residents with high water bills in a new way.
 
Council voted to adopt the water billing adjustment program policy at the Tuesday (Feb.13) meeting.
 
“The policy is designed to provide some relief to somebody that unfortunately may end up with a larger bill than they would normally experience,” said councillor Gordon Harris. “When they make the application through our administration process under this new policy, now they’ll be able to have it looked at to determine how significant the charges were and if they are, there would be a financial adjustment reflective of what’s out of the norm.”
 
The motion to approve the policy was made by councillor Lisa Makin, who said this issue was a huge part of the election and is an important move forward.
 
The motion was carried 5-1, with Harris against.
 
“I don’t think the program is necessary because I think we’ll be able to catch most of these things earlier before they get too big and then it’s a question of having a conversation with somebody about being responsible for the use of the water in their residence or at their place of business,” said Harris.
 
Mayor Gale Katchur felt confident with their decision.

“I think it's a really good step in the right direction for our residents, but it's also a good step for our staff so they have a tool in their tool box that they can actually deal with customer concerns as they arise," said Katchur. "We’re hoping that with all of the positive changes we've made over the past few months and as we go forward, that we’re going to see lower anomalies."

In an effort to alleviate the high water bill issue, the city switched to monthly water billing as of January 1. An external audit was done on their system, which found nothing that would lead to a misstatement of a water bill.
 
An app is also in the works to monitor water usage. More information will be available at the open session council meeting on March 27.

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