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Squirrel in your chimney? New fees open up more city services to residents

Proposed new city user fees and changes to generate $23,300 in revenues 

Calling the city to deal with a critter on private property could cost residents at least $750 if changes to the city’s fees, rates and charges for next year are approved. 

On Monday, council received a report for information detailing several new fees and relatively minor changes to other existing rates and charges. Council members now have until Oct. 23 to submit any requests for amendments before it comes back to council for approval on Nov. 16.  

The amendments are expected to generate an additional $23,300 in operating revenues for the city, meaning residents will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to pay for certain services.

Diane McMordie, director of finance, first presented the changes to councillors at the city community growth and infrastructure committee meeting on Oct. 13. 

Regional compatibility, cost recovery and keeping fees up with the rate of inflation were behind the changes, she said.

"Obviously due to COVID-19 a lot of things have changed, so I think people took an overall approach and looked at what municipalities were doing as well," McMordie said. 

There are a few brand new fees in the city’s schedule, specifically around fire services. 

For example, an open burning permit for special events will cost $75 per person. Residential fire pit permits will cost an application fee plus an additional $25 for the first year, with an annual renewal fee of $10, to cover administrative costs. 

Asking the fire department to attend special functions outside of regular office hours, like concerts, will cost $150 per hour. Another new $125 permit fee will allow food trucks to operate during special events.

“That covers us going out and taking a look and issuing a permit, and also doing an inspection of the mobile cooking operations,” said Michael Bos, fire safety officer.

There are new services open to residents as well. Fire extinguisher training fees will cost $10 per person with a minimum of $100, and fire extinguisher training outside regular office hours will be $100 per hour for a minimum of two hours, plus $10 per person.

Another new fee will allow the city to back-charge residents at least $750 to deal with unwanted visitors on private property. The City of St. Albert currently does not trap any pests on private property for residents, but does provide advice. 

“Squirrels in chimneys, coyote pups underneath porches, things like that, to help us collaborate with the resident and give them a choice to deal with the city or indeed choose their own private operator or contractor to resolve that issue,” said Anthony Lake, director of public works and transit.

Brittany Gervais

About the Author: Brittany Gervais

Brittany Gervais joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2020. She writes about city hall, business, general news and features.
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