The Town of Sylvan Lake’s utility deferral program, a response to the ongoing global pandemic, will be ending at the end of August.
The deferral program allowed residents to defer payment on their utility bills until Aug. 31, without penalties or interest fees.
Interest charges will be applies to overdue accounts beginning with the September utility bill, due in October or later.
“Cumulative monthly overdue balances unpaid up to and including Aug. 31, will be assessed interest charges going forward, increasing each month, until after five months, the entire outstanding amount will be charged interest,” a report to Council states.
It is expected the Town will see a loss of approximately $75,000 over five months following the end of the program, assume balances are paid in equal amounts during that time.
According to staff at the Town, the deferral program has caused a shortfall of roughly $30,000 in penalty revenue over the last four months.
Any shortfall the deferral program creates in the operating budget will be covered by the utility reserves.
Beginning in June, the Town resumed meter readings. The billing for the previous three months were based on estimated consumption.
Town Council approved the deferral program at a meeting on March 23, to help residents during the pandemic, which has been financially difficult for many.