Councillors don’t need to launch water rate-setting powers to PUB


The Metropolis of Winnipeg on Friday debated provincial laws that if enacted may doubtlessly strip town of its authority to set utility charges.

The Public Utility Ratepayer Safety and Regulatory Reform Act (Invoice 44), would shift the ability to set water and sewer charges from town to the Manitoba Public Utilities Board (PUB). Some metropolis councillors are indignant.

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In Friday’s Govt Coverage Committee assembly, council handed a movement to mandate ongoing examine of the invoice which might enable town extra time to collaborate with the province.

The backdrop for the controversy was town’s January 30 approval of a four-year water and sewer fee plan, in addition to a four-year balanced working funds.

Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) mentioned the flexibility for town to regulate water and waste is essential for the expansion.

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“So to be handing this over to the Public Utility Board, I elevate many considerations,” he mentioned. “The concept that a 3rd occasion can dictate to the residents of Winnipeg from an unelected place, of what they need to pay, and what capital tasks ought to go forward, and residents and council won’t have that authority considerations me fairly vastly.”

Coun. Cindy Gilroy, (Daniel McIntyre) mentioned Invoice 44 removes the native authority of council — a transfer that erodes democracy.

“These are the issues that can affect our residents essentially the most,” she mentioned. “I hope that they are going to hear us within the movement that’s in entrance of us right here at present. That is going to be a price to town, to arrange a brand new physique. So I feel it’s actually essential that the province hears us on this situation.”

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Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires mentioned in a press release to the Winnipeg Solar that Invoice  44 (Numerous Acts Amended) will make sure the annual PUB course of for regulating charges for electrical energy, fundamental auto insurance coverage and all provincial water utilities is finished in an environment friendly and cost-effective method.

“The Metropolis of Winnipeg water and wastewater charges might be topic to PUB overview, as are the charges for each different municipality within the province,” she mentioned. “Winnipeg ratepayers will profit from evidence-based specialists making such choices, moderately than politicians.

“As we transfer ahead, municipalities and stakeholders will proceed to be concerned within the improvement of those new processes.”

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Mayor Mind Bowman mentioned town has already enacted its four-year water and sewer fee plan, which gives “stability and predictability for ratepayers.”

“The affect of the invoice on the group construction of water and waste division goes to take a while to find out, in addition to the workload affect to the division,” he mentioned. “Metropolis council requests that the Province of Manitoba endorse Winnipeg’s present 2022-23 water and sewer fee plan.”

Coun. Mind Mayes (St. Very important) mentioned town isn’t well-equipped to supply the extent of scrutiny wanted to supervise the utilities.

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“The opposite municipalities on this province all have their utilities report back to the Public Utilities Board.”

jsnell@postmedia.com

Twitter: JamesWestgateSn

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