Campbell River council reduces user fees for garbage, recyling

User fees for garbage and recycling pick up are expected to go down for residential tax payers next year

User fees for garbage and recycling pick up are expected to go down for residential tax payers next year as council chose will apply grant funding against the fees. Multi Material BC, an organization set up to ensure producers of packaging and printed paper have programs in place to process such materials, entered into an agreement with the city on Nov. 30.

In return, Multi Material BC will give the city a $214,000 subsidy.

Coun. Andy Adams, at Monday’s financial planning meeting, suggested council use the subsidy to lower garbage and sewer user rates for Campbell River taxpayers and at the same time, stop taking money from the solid waste (garbage) utility to reduce taxes.

“We cannot continue to rely on reserves to subsidize general taxation,” Adams said. “We’re literally skimming off the top of this utility for funds that have been specifically collected for that purpose to offset taxation. So, I’m going to suggest that we stop doing that and we use the MMBC (Multi Material BC) amount to stop doing that.”

Council freed up $89,000 by not taking money from the utility for general revenue and voted to put it in a solid waste reserve fund for future projects.

But while council agreed on setting aside the $89,000 not all councillors were on the same page as to how much of the Multi Material BC funding should be used to lower user fees.

Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, explained that the city is required to put a portion of the $214,000 subsidy towards other things including program administration, education, and the city’s garbage pick up contractor, Emterra, for changing the contract, which leaves the city with $147,000 of the subsidy to apply to user fees. Council agreed to apply the $147,000 net subsidy towards user fees, with the exception of Coun. Andy Adams.

“I don’t want to limit it to that,” Adams said.”When I look at the $15,000 for program administration, I question do we need to do all that and do we need to do all the education requirements or can we scale that back.”

Coun. Ryan Mennie thought differently and said the education component will be the most important piece as changes are coming as to what can be left at the curb for pick up, such as aerosol containers, plastic plant pots and coffee cups. The city will also require that all multi-family complexes recycle as of Jan. 1, 2015, under the new agreement.