In the Mayor’s Message (December 14, 2016 edition), she once again attempts to position Council as the Regulator of CUI and attempt to distance themselves from the problem that they, Council, created.
She would like for us to believe that Council is as dismayed as we are about the mess (my word) that we know as CUI. That as Regulators, Council is doing everything they can to mitigate the economic distress that rate increases by CUI are causing to our family budgets.
This Council shows no respect whatever for the intelligence of the residents of Chestermere.
Does the Mayor not know that we are all aware that in 2012, it was Council who decided to create CUI and transfer its single largest cost center to a separate entity. It transferred all the department’s assets, all it’s costs and asked CUI to bill us for its services. And for 3 years, bill us it did. Billed us at the equivalent rates that the City had billed us. And lo and behold, in 2015, it was discovered that CUI had not been billing us enough, In fact, they said we had been under billed by as much as 25%. Amazing discovery! They finally noticed that while a City department, the City had been subsidizing water rates through our property taxes just like every other municipality (as noted in the CEO of CUI’s presentation to Council on December 5, 2016).
Oddly enough, residents did not see a reduction in their property taxes when these costs were transferred out of the City to CUI!!
So, now Council has a problem. In order to cover CUI’s costs, they need to approve huge, unacceptable rate increases. But, because of their poor municipal planning (no non-residential tax base) they can’t cut our property taxes as an offset to these increases. The answer, distance themselves from CUI. It’s not Council’s fault! It’s that CUI! Shame on you!
If other surrounding communities can have lower water rates by not having a CUI (as per Ms. Palter), why can’t Chestermere? If that is the answer, put the water department back at City Hall. It works elsewhere right? Let’s benefit like everyone else. Unfortunately, it will not work. It just means that our property taxes will go up.
Ms. Palter says you can’t compare water rates. She is right. What you can compare is the total water bills plus the total residential tax bills. Maybe the Mayor could get her staff to make that comparison before the next election. I guarantee her, someone will.
Council is wrong if it thinks this ruse is fooling anyone. The fundamental problem is that our taxes are too high! I for one will be supporting Anyone But the Incumbents (ABI) in the next election. I doubt if I will be alone in this.