In September, City Council resolved that the governance and operations of Chestermere Utilities Incorporated (CUI) require reform and that the status quo is no longer desirable. At a special meeting last week, Council received the eagerly awaited report from KPMG and McMillan LLP detailing reform options for the city-owned utility company.
“Residents voiced their concerns about CUI loudly and clearly, and we recognize that changes are necessary,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “As we are dealing with millions of dollars in impact, we want to ensure we make the best decision possible for the future of the company. Therefore, we will be deliberate and thorough in our analysis of each of the options presented.”
The reports presented five different options for Council to consider:
- Municipalization: CUI would be folded back into the municipality to operate as a municipal department.
- Shell / Hybrid:
- Option A: CUI would retain its legal and financial status as a corporation, allowing it to hold existing CUI debt and to raise new debt, as required, separately from the municipality.
- Option B: CUI would be retained as a shell to hold existing debt and to collect future offset levies related to existing assets. However, CUI would not be used to raise any new debt and would be wound up once all existing debt is retired.
- Merger/Amalgamation: The municipality would amalgamate CUI with other municipal water utilities, where these are also in the form of corporate entities.
- Partnerships/Outsourcing: CUI or the municipality would use outside suppliers and investors to provide services or facilities under contract or to jointly invest with CUI in new business ventures.
- Enter into New Business Ventures: CUI or the municipality would enter into new lines of business that offer the potential to earn additional revenue and income.
A summary of these proposals with potential advantages and disadvantages of each is listed at www.chestermere.ca/cui.
Now that the options have been presented, Council will review the reports in detail and reconvene in November to choose a path forward. When available, details on that meeting will be announced.