By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Castor’s Town council has approved a new utility bylaw during their most recent meeting on April 12th.
The new document is months in the making, as the new document is around 25 pages long and administration was required to seek legal guidance on some aspects of it.
“It’s one of the (bylaws) requested by council,” said Castor Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee.
“(Council) tasked administration to write a new, more modern, bylaw.”
Notable changes to the new document include the addition of a ‘special consumer’ class, as well as Town charges for blocked lines.
The ‘special consumer’ class covers all County residents who are connected to the Town of Castor water and sewer services, as applicable.
While usage service rates will remain the same as that of town residents, the difference will be in the addition or repair of services.
Under the new bylaw any water or sewer work for County residents will be done at the full cost to the resident, not the Town of Castor.
“Every other non-local user is responsible for their own infrastructure,” said Robblee.
“They will have to pay to have (repairs) fixed to our standards.”
Another significant change made in the new bylaw is that of in-town repairs. If the Town is called to an in-town location and the homeowner is deemed to be responsible for the obstruction, the homeowner will be charged for the repair.
Causes of obstruction deemed to be on the homeowner include the freezing of pipes due to not keeping enough water running through the pipes in winter, or the flushing of non-approved items, such as make-up wipes, menstrual products, or diapers, all of which have been found recently in the town sewer system.
“If we go to your house and do all the work, and we find out it is your fault, you will pay for it,” said Robblee.
A final change of note in the new bylaw surrounds utility cut-offs.
If utilities are cut-off due to non-payment, the landowner will be required to pay the outstanding balance in full, along with disconnection and re-connection charges, regardless of if the utilities are in the renter’s name or the landowner’s.
Utilities disconnection will occur after three consecutive months of non-payment, and a disconnection notice will be sent out around 30 days prior to the disconnection occurring.
If the outstanding balance remains unpaid, the balance will be transferred to the property tax-roll, however the balance will still be required to be repaid in full prior to re-connection.
Mayor Richard Elhard, who has received concerns from County residents regarding the new bylaw, wanted to stress that, “County residents will not pay more for water.”
Bylaw 1084, the Utility Bylaw, passed third reading in a motion made by Deputy Mayor Tony Nichols.