|Recycling costs higher than expected|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Trevor Busch|
|Wednesday, 14 May 2014 17:24|
Municipal residents won’t be taking an increased hit on their annual recycling fees — at least not right away.
On April 28, council voted 6-1 in favour of accepting the low bid for recycling services and awarded the contract to Jen-Ko Rentals Ltd. for $14,730 per month for May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015 and $15,170 per month for May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016, and that the Town of Taber absorb a $50,200 shortfall in the 2014 operating budget to cover the additional recycling fees. Coun. Jack Brewin was the vote in opposition to the motion.
The town began to contract out its collection and processing of recyclable material through Jen-Ko Rentals Ltd. in 1994. Jen-Ko Rentals Ltd. and the town entered into their most recent agreement in 2006 for a five year term which expired in 2010. Since that time, Jen-Ko Rentals Ltd. has been providing recycling services without an agreement, but receiving yearly increases to their fee.
Negotiations to come to a new agreement with Jen-Ko Rentals Ltd. early in 2014 were unsuccessful, and the town tendered recycling services in late February. Only two bids were received, the lower of which came from Jen-Ko Rentals Ltd. at $14,730 per month for the first year and $15,170 per month for the second year, excluding GST. Both bids came in over budget and exceed the budgeted revenue estimate for recycling fees collected from residents and business owners.
“We went through tender hoping to get something closer to what we’re paying right now, and we obviously didn’t,” said CAO Greg Birch. “So what are we going to do? One of the options is to abandon recycling, but I don’t know if that would be especially popular. But to cover this gap between what we actually pay in on our recycling rate, and what we are now going to have to pay, that means we’ll have to raise another $50,200 per year to cover this.”
Administration recommended council approve the low tender bid and increase recycling rates in the Schedule of Fees Bylaw as the proposed funding source, and amend the operating budget accordingly to authorize the increased expenditure — essentially passing on the cost of the increase to municipal residents.
“I personally as a councillor am not in favour of an increase in recycling fees,” said Coun. Randy Sparks. “If it’s a $50,000 shortfall, I personally think the town can suck it up and cover that, and then we can carry on in the future as we go through the next process.”
Earlier in the discussion, director of corporate services Dale Culler confirmed that the current $50,200 cost increase for recycling could be absorbed by the town through its accumulated surplus. Recycling cost residents roughly $113,000 in 2013.
As a related concern, Coun. Sparks indicated it is crucial the town determine where it is planning to go in terms of waste management and recycling in future.
“I think a review of recycling and waste management is far overdue. We’ve given a lot of lip service to this issue, and haven’t done anything about it — no changes, no progress, no action. We’ve asked to have town employees look over this and come to council to answer questions and give valuable information, and this hasn’t happened. This has gone on far too long. The residents of the town of Taber deserve to know which direction the Town of Taber is going.”
Proposed last year, a plan to implement a roll-out bin system for garbage collection and recycling was temporarily shelved in the wake of public concerns about the efficacy of changing the current system.
“We have to set a timeline for this whole study and where we’re going to end up,” said Mayor Henk De Vlieger. “We don’t know yet where we’re going to end up, but if we end up with a new process, we might not have to make an increase in the recycling fees. Personally, I think we should leave the recycling fee alone until we know what we’re going to do.”
Ending recycling services for residents is simply not an option that can be considered, according to Mayor De Vlieger.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to pay more money, but I don’t think we have a choice, because to say we’re just going to dump it all in the landfill is not very responsible. But I would be a little bit careful in passing on the fees to the residents before we know a bit more concrete what we’re going to do with the program.” Â