Higher user fees considered for landfill

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Ty Stokes, director of engineering services, talks about proposed landfill user rates at the March 31, 2014 executive committee meeting.

Landfill rates might be going up.

At Monday’s executive committee meeting, executive tabled the engineering department landfill report pending more information.

The report recommends increasing the rates by 2.5 per cent per year for 2014, 2015 and 2016 effective June 1 for all users within the City of Moose Jaw. The increase is equivalent to annual inflation. Users outside the city limits would see an increase of five per cent.

For users in Moose Jaw, the rates for standard waste would go from $37 per tonne to $38 per tonne as of June 1, $39 as of Jan. 1, 2015 and $40 as of Jan. 1, 2016. Residential waste makes up 12 per cent of what is disposed at the landfill.

For users outside city limits, the rates for standard waste would go from $47 per tonne to $50 per tonne as of June 1, $52.50 per tonne as of Jan. 1, 2015 and $55 as of Jan.1, 2016.

Coun. Dawn Luhning said the rates for non-residents might be too low compared to the residential fees. Her question was similar to the question Mayor Deb Higgins wrote in the comments section of the report, which was “Why such a small differential between city and regional waste?”

“The non-residential fees don’t seem that much higher,” said Luhning. “I’m wondering if there hasn’t been a thought of doubling versus this incremental increase all the time.”

“Administration is willing to support larger increases than what are presented here,” said Ty Stokes, director of engineering services with the city.

City manager Matt Noble added that because some councillors expressed interest in establishing more competitive rates, administration could restructure the report with options.

“We want to remain competitive though, so we would probably align our commercial and industrial rates with those in Regina, which would be a higher rate rather than tying it to our residential rate because if we do that, we could penalize our own businesses here in the community,” said Noble.           

The landfill has generated approximately $1.2 million in recent years. The proposed rate increase will ensure the solid waste utility will be sustainably operated.

An engineering department report said the landfill has five years of “operational capacity.” Pre-design work for landfill expansion will start sometime this year and the project is estimated to cost $3.7 million.

Each year the operational costs are increasing. The City of Regina’s landfill rate is significantly higher than the City of Moose Jaw’s and the report said refuses from out-of-city boundary are being disposed of at Moose Jaw’s landfill.

While on the one hand it is providing revenue for the city, it’s also speeding up the reduction of the landfill’s capacity.

Coun. Patrick Boyle said landfill rates for out-of-town users are $20 cheaper in Moose Jaw than it would be to dispose of the waste in Regina.

“It’s still economical for someone from Regina to come here because it’s $20 cheaper,” he said. “Then we have to balance that against a loss in revenue that we need to continue to get that reserve going to replace the landfill. So I think there’s probably still room to go up.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Regina

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