The town’s garbage and recycling collection contract with BFI Waste Management (previously WSI) will expire in Aug. 2013.
According to Ronnie Gill, the town’s director of finance, this is an opportune time to “review the recycling contract and investigate the feasibility of providing these services in-house in conjunction with the implementation of a residential organics program.”
Gill delivered her report to mayor and council at the Public Works Committee meeting on Nov. 6.
“The benefits of recycling are now apparent and the organics program will be just as successful. The benefits are two-fold: becoming a green community and the cost savings,” says Gill’s report.
The town currently has $260,000 in its equipment reserve fund that could be used towards the purchase of a split body truck, but needs to budget $60,000 for one-time start-up costs to implement the service.
“The start-up costs include purchase of bins and an estimate for public education, information sessions, workshops and general awareness work,” said Gill. “The $60,000 is a one-time cost and we may want to look at not recovering that.”
Mayor and council did discuss the possibility of the town becoming part of the service being adopted by the CVRD for its electoral areas starting in June of next year, but decided that this would probably be more expensive than going with an in-house service.
“From the experience of the other municipalities that I’ve talked to their costs did not really change that much,” said Gill. “We don’t anticipate much of a change.”
Currently BFI Waste Management costs the town approximately $1,300 a day to pick up garbage and recycling and dispose of it in Duncan.
One consideration in terms of costs is the fact that the town would be responsible for sorting and disposing of waste, recyclables and organics.
“One of the things we have now in terms of the contractor is they pick-up the recyclables, but not everybody puts out recycle, but we pay for every single house,” said Joseph Fernandez, the town’s chief administrative officer. “And if we are doing it in house, I think we should have an added incentive of making sure that all households put out recycle. Right now, I think a lot of it is going into the garbage and it’s costing us more.”
Fernadez added that if the town is doing garbage, recycle, and organic waste collection that it would be an opportunity to better monitor what residents are putting out curbside.
“If I’m not mistaken, there are communities where when the recycling is put out the carrier can look inside the bag and examine it, and then fines can be imposed,” said Coun. Bob Day. “That can come down the road.”
“By moving the current operator out of the picture, we would now have to dispose of our own recycling,” said Nagi Rizk, superintendent of Public Works and Engineering. “He absorbs that cost, and we have to consider that.”
It was decided that town staff would come back to the next Public Works meeting with a more detailed budget, taking into consideration things like disposal and sorting and other related costs.