Garbage fee hike irks local councillors

After a summer of disruption to the city’s garbage collection service, any news about a garbage fee increase is bound to meet with disapproval from residents. However, that is exactly what has happened, as city staff recently proposed an increase in the annual fee for its garbage bins.

Ward 43 and 44 councillors are opposing the hike, in line with what they say their constituents want.

Councillor Ron Moeser  says that his constituents have already put up with enough this year. Even though the figures for the proposed increase are yet to be approved, he has already received two phone calls from constituents that were not happy.

This proposed hike is expected to be about 13 per cent over last year’s rates.

Councillor Paul Ainslie, Ward 43, is not supporting the garbage fee hike.
“Strike aside, I have seen a number of issues within the Solid Waste Department which need to be dealt with.”

He said the system can be inefficient and sometimes the drivers are too stringent in their standards, while other times the rules aren’t followed at all.

Moeser said that the original point of the program was to discourage garbage output and he owns a small bin, which currently only has a $10/ year fee. “But for those families with five or six people, their rates are higher, so they will have a bigger burden.”

Residents are expected to become more outspoken when the whole financial picture is agreed upon and the final numbers are released.

“As a city councillor living in the area I represent, I have heard continual griping about our garbage collection system. A fee increase will only serve to heighten these feelings,” Ainslie says.

Before anything is approved, the city must look over the finances and see whether there is any money to spend.

“We need an update as to what we are spending on programs and if we have a surplus,” Moeser says.

Councillor Glenn deBaeremaeker, chair of the Public Works Committee, which is at the centre of this debate, was unavailable for comment.