On Feb. 27, Town of Peace River council approved a $6 increase to solid waste utility rates effective immediately.
“During budget discussions council supported the concept of separating utility fees from tax supported operational expense,” says Mayor Elaine Manzer.
“The $6 increase to the solid waste utility is separated into two parts, (first) an approximate $3 charge to support the new level of service yard waste collection in the Centennial Parking Lot due to the changes in Peace Waste Management’s operations at the Eco Centre which has stopped collecting leaf and branches in their bins,” she adds.
“The other approximate $3 charge is to help create a solid waste reserve to set aside funds for future utility expenses.”
Various utilities have experienced increases as a result of the Town having to recoup costs that have grown exponentially in recent years. The Town is creating a cost recovery system with all utilities that will allow them to save money in surplus to help pay for infrastructure replacement when it is required.
“Basically, all utilities are receiving an increase in charges this year, based on the concept that all water, waste and stormwater users should pay for the utility they use and the costs to the Town of providing these services has also increased,” explains Manzer.
“The timing of any increase in fees is never good, but this charge will also take these utility expenses out of the tax supported operating costs and create a self-contained account to operate these utilities.”
Manzer says council has had feedback from ratepayers indicating that they think the yard waste collection in Centennial Park is needed, and providing a physical location that is operated by the Town will encourage those with yard waste to dispose of the waste in the proper area. She says with this service inevitably comes a cost.
“The bins will be provided starting some time in May and continuing through to part of October,” she says.
“Administration is determining the number of bins, how often they will be emptied as part of the (request for proposal) for this service. Aside from the bins, the Town will also be doing the spring and fall cleanup curbside service, as was provided in the past year.”
In order to introduce the Solid Waste Bylaw No. 2129, administration needed to change Bylaw 2119, which council approved at the meeting.
“Administration has indicated that the best practice is to separate present bylaws into a technical services bylaw and the other for the rates and is working towards the two bylaws with various bylaw changes,” explains Manzer.
“The plan is to have a ‘one-stop-shop’ for ratepayers looking for rates. This would include rates for Corporate Services, Community Services, Engineering and Infrastructure, Protective and Fire Services, and the Museum.”
Administration will be asking for council to pass second reading on March 13 and third reading on March 27 regarding both bylaw changes.