Kinks being worked out of new utility bills

Fort France administration and council are still working out the kinks in the latest utility bills issued.
During Monday night’s regular Committee of the Whole meeting, councillors brought up public concerns about the bills.
“People are asking why their hydro bills went up,” noted Coun. Dave Bourgeault.
“I don’t know that there was a rate increase,” noted Darryl Allan, the manager of administration and finance for the town.
“I will inquire about that,” he added.
The latest bills have been issued by Thunder Bay Hydro until the town can fine tune the software system here.
“We did go through the Thunder Bay Hydro system but eventually we’ll be at the point of providing our own bills,” said Allan. “There have been problems and [staff] have been working very diligently to resolve that.”
New software has had to be implemented by all Ontario municipalities to handle the new billing system that has come as part of hydro deregulation in the province.
Software here is expected to be compatible within the next two months, in time to print bundled information–a breakdown of the year’s utility costs–as required by the provincial legislation.
“We’ve started, and we’re taking it one step at a time to make sure it’s easily read,” noted Fort Frances Power Corporation CEO Mark McCaig. “It’s a new thing and a transitionary thing, and they’re are a few bugs we’re working out.”
Although they were printed in Thunder Bay, the bills are still to be returned to the local Civic Centre.
Also during Monday night’s meeting, Fort Frances town council approved a settlement of $18,685 for an accident at the Fort Frances cemetery that occurred on Sept. 13 1997, injuring an infant.
During the meeting council also:
•approved a residential tax increase of two percent to provide enough tax revenue after reassessments to maintain a status quo budget;
•approved several committee appointments including: Andy Lake to the Salary Structure and Administration Practices Committee, Geoff Gillon to the Centennial Celebration Advisory Committee, and Tammi Shoemaker to the Business Improvement Area Board; and
•passed a resolution to include $120,000 in the 2002 budget process for a “Welcome to Fort Frances/Ontario/Canada” sign on the Abitibi Consolidated Inc. lap building, with assistance from the Economic Development Advisory Committee, revitalization group, the Business Improvement Area and the Fort Frances Business Women’s Network.