October 21st, 2020

Answers needed on City’s waste collection fees


By Letter to the Editor on January 2, 2020.

There have been many questions from residents on the $7 increase to their waste collection charge. So does the charge specifically refer to Residential Curbside Recycle Collection user fee? No. So the question was asked, why it does not properly state Residential Curbside Recycle Collection?

The management response: the bylaw states waste collection charge. So the question was asked, is recyclables considered waste (garbage)? Answer: the bylaw states Schedule A states increase rates to waste collection. Recyclables are not waste; they have a value.

It was interesting, when watching the city council Community Issues Committee meeting Oct. 17, the City Manager Corporate Progress report presented by the Director of Infrastructure, on slide #5 on curbside billing, he stated a “$7 enhancement.” So what is a $7 enhancement? Is it a tax or is it a user fee?

Our committee forwarded a letter to mayor and council requesting an explanation of the “$7 enhancement;” what is it, what is the public purpose? Answer: “to cover the implementation of the Curbside Recycling Project.” Is it a tax? Answer: “no, it is a utility fee for the curbside recycling program.” Is it a user fee? Answer: “yes, as per bylaw amend 6198 schedule A.”

When was the bylaw approved by council for a $7 enhancement? Answer: “the bylaw was approved by City Council Nov. 26, 2018,” which is incorrect; it was approved Dec. 10, 2018.

In both bylaw 6146 and 6198, council erred. They did not ask for a “cost of service” on accounting the “$7 enhancement” fee. They did not ask the specific account for the Residential Curbside Recycling collection user fee monies – will they be deposited in a waste collection account or, if deposited in general revenue, they become a tax. One councillor questioned the free Saturday removed from bylaws; there were no questions of removal of residential dividend item.

The 37,500 residential customers should be very concerned with what is happening with their collection fees taken by Waste Management. In any case, we will proceed with this issue.

Ken Ikle

Spokesperson for Committee for Residential Utilities

Lethbridge

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JustObserving

Having taken well justified criticism for repeated TAX hikes it has become the ploy of Council to “bait and switch” by calling all increases fees , enhancements and the like. I have yet to hear a justification [ a rational one, not bureaucratic bafflegarb ] for cutting trash pick-ups by half but keeping the fee the same, then adding a separate fee for recycling pickup on the deleted days. Whilest the question of where the money goes should be asked and answered, the question of why it is being collected in the first place remains.
On the same issue:
– has Council taken a look at the trial project being considered in Calgary where rfi tags track the days you put your carts out and bill you for only those days [ I doubt it, saves taxpayers $ and “robs” City of $ for not doing anything ]
– the waste reduction performance dividend which used to appear on our utility bills was a flat $0.00 for years – has the City managed to turn this taxpayer funded project of fervent recycling into a money maker? If so, where has this $ gone and why has this line item, which might show a windfall profit or a staggering loss been deleted from the utility bills?

Ken, I suspect the answer to your questions and others can be found in the old saw ” Follow the Money ” with the addendum…” ..and who is getting it “.

Citi Zen

It’s primarily about justifying the jobs of some City Hall bureaucrats. Make your division look like it’s paying it’s way, and all is good. You can fool some of the people, some of the time……

snowman

Yes, the municipal gov’t act determines how the city tax and apply user fees in the past four years in this City user fees have increased over 12% percent and continue to increase thanks to council blind eye decisions.
So, the bylaw 6198m and amend state increases to waste (Garbage)collection of $7.00 and .50 cents there was no cost of service presented to Council nor did Council request or question it will tell you exactly where user fee increases are applied and citizens would know what they are paying for.
In the City financial documents, there are two accounts ,. Waste Services and Recycle Services showing revenue and expense, debt borrowing, black carts, and collection fees, operating costs are charged to Waste services and Recycle Services revenue and expenses recycle depots and operating and capital cost. the $600,000.00 for blue carts, new trucks at $325,000.00 each operating costs. The so-called $ 7.00 would not begin to cover Residential Curbside Recycled Collection Costs. The past Waste Manager presented to Council on debates over recycle program a costing table chart 3 cart system showing the collection costs would be black cart biweekly $11.60, green cart bi-weekly
$8.00, Blue cart $10to $11.00, which Council approved. So where are we at today they speak of $7.00 enhancements which Council approved.

snowman

Further to the concerned citizens speaking to the design of the Bylaw 6198 and amend the $7.00 enhancement and with further .50cents. increase the waste collection (garbage) fee by Council approval waste management grabbed over $1.8 million from residential waste collection garbage fees (black cart).
The only line item on your monthly utility bill is a reference Waste reduction there is no proper
definition but 311 says it refers to recycle stations and yard waste. there is no line item or definition for residential curbside recycling collection.
So, do we have a misappropriation of funds by City Council and inappropriate rate-setting by Waste management? What do you think and what action should be taken.

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