October 22nd, 2020

Recycling changes prompt questions


By Letter to the Editor on April 14, 2020.

“Follow the money” is good advice from a reader of my last Herald letter to the editor on the City administrator’s comment about a $7 enhancement on the waste collection fee. A citizen has a right to know regarding user fees.

We asked the mayor and council what is the public purpose in their new term “increment.” Their response was that it is not a tax but a user fee.

There was Bylaw 5543, “The Recycling Bylaw,” effective Jan. 15, 2015, which stated the public purpose for the reception, processing and marketing of recyclable materials. There were two business units called Recycle Services and Recycle Fund, accountable for recyclables user fees, and the $3.60/month user fees from the three recycling depots were deposited in the Recycle Fund.

The Waste Management reports in the Operating Budget Summary, page 136: Waste Collection increased revenues (user fees) due to implementation of curbside recycling to $3,893,311, and also created an increase in operating expenses, $3,178,477. The $0.50 monthly user fee 2020 rate increase does not state Waste or Curbside Recycle Collection.

Bylaws 5724 and 5543 were merged into Waste Bylaw 6146 with the $7 increase later amended to Waste Bylaw 6198 with a .50 cent increase to the waste collection fee. The reason given for merging the bylaws was to consolidate and eliminate duplication of information and make it easier for residents to review services provided, collection disposal and legal requirements, with no mention of user fees.

The Acting Solicitor did not present a cost of service that requires user fee revenues to cover cost of waste collection, $20.70, to increase to $26.20. Council did not question the cost of service required by legal decisions, the rates or rate increases of user fees or the term residential collection and the wipeout of the recycling bylaw 5543 and accounting of residential curbside recycle collection user fees.

City council failed in their fiduciary duty to act properly on behalf of residential customers (taxpayers) by not requesting a user fee cost of service, and by not properly reviewing rates in Schedule 1-2 in bylaw 6198 to separate from waste and residential curbside recycle collection and not allow the wipeout of Recycling Bylaw 5543.

Ken Ikle

Spokesperson for Committee for Residential Utilities

Lethbridge

Share this story:

11
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Montreal13

Thanks Mr. Ikle for continuing to follow this sorted story. It is so disheartening ,these never ending shell games from a number of our city departments. They get paid in a full time position to play these games,no wonder residents that are paying half attention get worn down. However, in part do these departments have to play them, to follow thru on councilor’s directions, that are often so politically based? Thanks for hanging in there, to at least point out the irregularities in the ongoing saga. That started at least as far back as the typical city survey. You know the kind where they keep asking the same question over the years til they can fudge the results well enough to say they got the support from the residents ,that they proceeded without anyway. But hey residents continue to vote in councilors based on their gift for the gab. Studious and deep thinking candidates don’t show well at popularity contests that elections have become. So the show goes on. And unfortunately, fewer and fewer voters turn out for the election process and no wonder.

biff

insightful letter. and since it it based on the workings of city hall, insightful typically yields feelings of frustration and anger.
AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT: lands deals involving city; wasteful spending; redundant positions; salaries.

MDA

Quote: Audut, Audit, Audit, lands deals involving city; wasteful spending; redundant positions; salaries….
You forgot: Nepotism and Nepotistic Preferential Hiring Practices in all department.

gs172

I was a supporter for curbside recycling and frankly the past 2 years have been a let down. I call it “curbside recycling light”. No plastic bags, shredded paper or glass allowed in curbside bins. So we have to go down to the sites anyway or just throw it out in regular trash, hmmm, tough decision. Getting answers to questions from city hall is next to impossible. And now with them changing rates on commercial waste depending on what recyclable materials are in it things are going to get worse. Who decides how much recyclable material is in a load? We all want to be more environmentally friendly but it looks like the city has all the answers… but won’t tell us.

buckwheat

The Empire strikes back.

snowman

The answers to our questions started to flow with the new City Manager Mr. Strain the waste management acknowledged there is no residential curbside recycling collection fee look on your monthly bill do you see it. So the question is when will it come. The previous Waste Manager stated in the build of the recycle program the bi- weekly residential curbside collection fee (blue cart ) rate would be $10 to $11 the waste collection (black cart) $11.60 dropped $2 for change to bi-weekly large cart (City documents).
The Mayor states the $7.00 “increment”(add on) is for blue cart residential collection fee, but, he along with Council approved bylaw 6146 &6198 rate schedule 1 clearly states a waste (garbage)collection rate increase of $7. The Waste General Manager in response to our question on the $7 rate for Residential Curbside Recycle collection states (document) the $7 Waste (garbage)processing fee which in total $3.8 plus million deposited in Waste (garbage)processing fund not Recycle fund which would pay for Residential Curbside Recycle collection. The Mayor commented that part of the $7 fee would pay for the Materials Recovery facility (mrf) which is not correct The Mrf is paid for $15.7m loan paid by property tax. Both bylaws 6146 & 6198 clearly state the difference between waste(garbage) end of life and recycle – renewable .
You citizens should be very concerned with Waste Management the whole dept and the blindless approvals by the City council, speak out or you pay.

MDA

You are dealing with a Progressive/Liberal City council. The greatest enemies of Liberalism is common sense and accountability just watch the Prime Minister.