For some Prince Albert residents, the cost of getting a new water hook up has increased.

At Monday’s meeting, council approved increasing the water utility deposit fee from $150 to $250 for renters.

However, not all councillors are in favour of the move.

Councillor Terra Lennox-Zepp tried to amend the motion so the change would only take effect after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted.

“I would ask, at the very least, that we delay increasing utility account deposit fees until after the Province of Saskatchewan lifts the provincial state of emergency,” she said. “We’re in an unprecedented time and this item means that we are cutting off water to people’s homes and we know that that’s happening.”

However, Councillor Evert Botha said the city can’t afford to put off the increase any longer.

“We don’t know when this is going to end and we need to look after our water utility deposit which is still subject to another review,” he said. “This is fair by the numbers given to us by our administration. It’s not a lot of people moving into our community and applying for a utility account. I believe it’s manageable. I believe it’s fair.”

Lennox-Zepp’s amendment failed to get a second nomination and the motion to increase the water utility deposit for renters passed by a margin of eight votes to one.

Some estimates say the city is owed as much as $3 million in outstanding water utility bill arrears.