Garbage collection fee hike looms

John Gleeson/Staff Writer / Staff writer
January 18, 2014 01:00 AM

One increase leads to another.

That's the story with garbage collection fees in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), where staff recommended a five per cent increase this year to offset revenue losses from last year's hike in tipping fees.

Waste reduction and recovery manager Jeremy Valeriote and accounting technician Brad Wing spelled out the correlation in a staff report presented to the SCRD's infrastructure services committee on Jan. 9.

"Refuse collection fees were increased by 11 per cent in 2012 and five per cent in 2013 to fund increased collection contract costs and increase disposal costs resulting from landfill tipping fee increases," Valeriote and Wing wrote.

"Staff has reviewed the current collection fee rates and base budget and determined that a further increase is required in 2014 to fund increased disposal costs resulting from landfill tipping fee increases implemented in September 2013," the report continued. "The increase will result in an additional $35,000 in revenue annually."

For a single-family dwelling, the increase would mean an extra $6.34 this year, raising the annual fee to $133.16. That's a 30 per cent hike since 2010, or $30.60.

A mobile home in a mobile home park would be charged an extra $5.35 this year for a total bill of $112.26, also representing a 30 per cent increase since 2010, or $25.80.

The fee hikes would be applicable to Areas B, D, E and F, excluding the islands.

The committee voted in favour of the recommendation, with Elphinstone (Area E) director Lorne Lewis opposed.

"The rate structure for mobile homes is way too high," Lewis said. "It takes the garbage truck 45 minutes to go through Poplars Mobile Home Park. I will oppose this because I'm opposed to the increase in tipping fees anyway."

Tipping fees went up $15 per tonne in May 2012 and $25 per tonne last September, with the projected revenues intended to cover rising landfill costs, due in part to new provincial solid waste requirements.

Meanwhile, CAO John France reported to the committee on a deficit in the 2013 solid waste budget.

"It's become apparent to us that there's a bit of a problem with revenues at the landfill for the last two months of the year," France said.

He estimated the shortfall was between $50,000 and $100,000.

France said he would give a full report next month. He said staff suspected the cause was the loss of a commercial customer, but "had no idea" if the material was being moved off-Coast for disposal.

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