Chestermere residents own Chestermere Utilities Incorporated (CUI). It’s ours and was created to service our city. So when our utility rates rose, costing families thousands of dollars more, we were alarmed. The story of CUI is convoluted, but it is not complex. Here is where CUI went off the rails and your utility company lost your trust: utility companies don’t have a limit to their borrowing placed on them by the Province, municipalities do. So to build the infrastructure required anticipated growth (lift stations, etc), they needed more money. CUI has given Council the ability to borrow a lot more money. Creating CUI was like getting a second credit card. Dissolving CUI is likely not an option because they have effectively maxed out that second credit card and the first credit card (municipal borrowing limit) is too full to take the new debt load on.
So what do we do?
I will initiate an immediate call to investigate the water rate we are charged by the City of Calgary. If it’s true, as some believe, that we are paying a commercial rate for our water, this needs to be addressed. Our utility rates should be based on our usage which is primarily residential.
We will look to find efficiencies wherever possible. Here is one example. CUI just built a new large scale parking garage for our garbage trucks right beside our youth centre, doctor’s office, and skateboard park. They set up on prime land that could be used by tax-paying businesses. The CUI trucks could have been housed in the public works yard along with other city trucks and maintained by our excellent staff. Instead we’re facing yet another growing bill. It is a common sense approach.
Together we can run this company as though we own it, because we do.