While it isn't the role of City Council to respond to editorial of opinion, it is important that false information be addressed and corrected to ensure the community is informed, rather than misled.
In a recent letter to the editor, Don Robinson suggested that City power rates are 10 per cent higher than SaskPower resulting in $2 million of additional "windfall" to city coffers and because of this people are leaving the City for the RM.
As confirmed in The Power Corporation Act, all cities in Saskatchewan collect a 10 per cent surcharge on power rates while towns and villages collected a five per cent surcharge which is used to pay for rights of way and payments in lieu of taxes. Rural Municipalities are not subject to this charge. City of Swift Current Light and Power includes the surcharge in the total power rate while SaskPower utilizes a separate line on their billing system.
When looking at the residential rates as published by SaskPower (http://www.saskpower.com/wp-content/uploads/residential_rates.pdf) Mr. Robinson would also know that cities, towns and villages pay a lower basic monthly charge and every charge compared to rural and rural resort communities. In other words, you can't compare urban versus rural rates because of the rate setting structure in the province. And if you have an issue with that, I'm sure you will write a letter to your MLA.
The bottom line is City Light and Power customers can feel confident knowing that rates are the same as any other city provided by SaskPower.
In regards to the assertion that people are leaving because of power rates, it's important to note that 50 residential homes were built in 2013 along with 56 multi-family and condo units. Total construction has totalled over $415 million since 2005 with approximately $175 million of that since 2011.
As is always the case, this information could have been clarified by calling any member of City Council or City Light and Power.
Unfortunately, the weekly letters to the editor that paint a very bleak picture of the City with false or misleading information leads me to question the motivations for writing them. Is it to discredit members of council either politically or professionally? Discredit city administration or staff? If clarification is all Mr. Robinson was after, surely he would ask.
Whatever the motivation stating false information that misleads the public is unnecessary, irresponsible and it's unfortunate that it continues.
Gord Budd - Councillor, City of Swift Current