New Donalda council to collect utility fees

Donalda’s newly elected mayor and village council are working hard to collect water, sewer and garbage collection fees to patch up a $58,000 deficit in the council coffers, a deficit that appears to have been accumulated through negligence.

Donalda Mayor Bruce Gartside said they were informed of the deficit only last month.

“We are presently holding weekly council meetings and in one of those meetings we informed the residents of the situation regarding the utilities,” said Gartside.

“It was as much a shock to them as it was to us.”

“Many people ignored paying their charges, some of them for years,” Gartside said.

But Mayor Gartside said it was because bills were not being sent out to residents for some considerable time.

“Now the bills are going out monthly and many people are coming to make payments. It is beginning to make progress.”

Reminded that Donalda residents have already been paying increased fees since last April, Gartside said the $10 increase in the fee being applied since last spring was not related to the deficit.

“That increase last spring was due to the rise in the garbage costs,” said Gartside.

“I wasn’t on council then, but we had the same company as Stettler collecting the garbage and I guess about a year and a half ago, that company lost its contract with Stettler, so they dropped their contract with Donalda, too.”

“To find another garbage company, we had to pay substantially higher cost and that cost was passed along (to residents).”

Gartside said the balance was slowly coming down as “some people catch up with their payments.”

Asked whether he would characterize as negligence the fact that bills were not sent out to residents for a lengthy period, Gartside said he would not comment on that question.

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