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  • City council dissolves CUI 

    The municipally controlled utility company was dissolved Monday night

    Chestermere City Council directed administration to completely dissolve the municipally controlled utility company, CUI, back into the municipal corporation, with appropriate asset management during the Nov. 1 Special Meeting of Council.

    “If we dissolve CUI and roll all of the assets and liabilities into the city, we would have a total debt limit of 68 million, total long term debt of 45 million, and total debt limit capacity of 23.2 million,” said Mayor Jeff Colvin.

    Adding, “The debt limits wouldn’t be exceeded if we rolled this into the city. We do have the room to move CUI into the city. We have to get our fiscal responsibility in order, and that starts with this.”

    The numbers pulled were from the audited financials of the 2020 year, and during the time of CUI, past council was presented with an analysis and projections including off-site levy, utility mater plans, and growth projections.

    “The utility company with the city was looking at 2022 when we would cross over with the two entities being one. However, if we were to keep the utility company separate from the city we would cross over the debt limit in 2024,” said Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Brenda Hewko.

    “That was buying a couple of years for the city and the utility to start diving into their various planning documents and ensuring correction, so we weren’t exceeding the debt limit,” she said.

    Hewko, city administration, and interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Harry Harker requested council to allow administration to present an orientation and fully brief council members on the topic before moving ahead.

    “We want to ensure that we are moving ahead in a smooth, orderly fashion and considering any potential consequences,” Hewko said.

    “It would be worthwhile to complete the briefing. It’s not critical that this decision is made tonight. Coming back with that information will give everybody a solid understanding of what’s going on,” Harker said.

    City Councillor Shannon Dean also wanted to be presented with the council orientation before carrying the motion to dissolve CUI, as he was concerned about the ramifications of making a rushed decision.

    “I want the orientation piece; I don’t know what I don’t know. We haven’t even done an orientation. The priority of this council should be to do the orientation, and make sure we’re properly doing things. I don’t understand what the rush is on many of these decisions, and I feel as I continue to vote for things, I’m aware of the ramifications of that,” Dean said.

    “I’m going to vote for what I believe is the right decision for our citizens, and I feel like rushing some of these decisions, it might be the right decision, we’ve all talked about the dissolving CUI for a long time, but I don’t think we need to be doing that on night three,” he said.

    City Councillor Stephen Hanley believed there was no point in continuing to delay the decision to dissolve CUI.

    “We keep going back and delaying this, it’s something the public wants. We keep hearing there’s more data, it’s like fishing, but we’re beyond that, the residents are beyond that, and the residents have had enough of that,” Hanley said.

    “I had expected that everyone would have been up to speed on CUI, it’s not that hard,” he added. “Being gun-shy is not leadership, if you believe in something you have to go forward, you’re never going to have all of the answers, orientation is not going to give you every answer.”