Utility rate increase unacceptable and outright defiant to citizens

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So get ready for a 20 per cent increase in your utility fees, St. Albert residents, come Jan. 1, after the vote to reconsider this move was lost 4-3 at St. Albert City Council this month. That means an extra $300 per year on average out of your pocket.

Well, I tried to stop it.

Sorry to say, but we did it to ourselves with the dismal 38 per cent voter turnout in the last municipal election. A full 62 per cent of eligible voters did not bother to vote, and guess what – the councillor who captured the most votes had no problem asking you for 20 per cent more on your utility bill. I guess we really have gotten the council we deserve and it will hurt.

A 20 per cent increase of this kind is never acceptable under any circumstances, especially when the cost of living is hovering somewhere around two per cent annually and the population demographic is sliding toward more Albertans on fixed income pensions. While council’s role is generally to listen to administration, and trust that, in general, it is working for the good of St. Albert’s citizens, there are times when it has to show a backbone and say no on behalf of its citizens.

I thought saying “absolutely no” when asked to approve a 20 per cent utility rate increase was self-evident. Apparently not, and apparently, we as St. Albert citizens cannot go on living our lives believing and trusting that council has our back. By this vote, it is evident, that four of them don’t.

But we did it to ourselves. What we earned from the last election were a bunch of returning councillors and an over-ripe mayor who seem to have lost the ability to recognize certain facts about the role of council, its relationship to administration, and some dynamics in that role that should be self-evident, yet seem to be lost on most of this group. They just don’t get it, anymore.

We got the council that those few who turned up to vote elected, and now all of us are obviously going to pay massively because of it. I can’t imagine what that will mean to an average family of four just going about their business trying to live without worrying who might be robbing their wallets. Better get used to showering once a week, and flushing the toilet every third use.

Tony Kryzanowski, St. Albert

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