City of Calgary looks to be more transparent about waste and recycling fees

Calgary City Council set to discuss changes to trash delivery and costs
WATCH: Calgary’s Utilities and Corporate Services committee passed recommendations onto city council that focus on its waste cart programs. Joel Senick looks at how the changes could impact homeowners.

Garbage collection and recycling comes at a cost to Calgarians – and a city committee wants you to know exactly how much you’re paying.

The Utilities and Corporate Services Committee has approved a proposal to improve transparency by listing waste and recycling service costs as well as monthly charges for blue, black and green carts on monthly utility bills.

Currently there is no charge for the black bin used for garbage collection. The green cart is subsidized with the cost of the service charge for the blue bin.

READ MORE: Committee recommends Calgary scale back its winter green cart collection

However, under 2018 rates, the monthly charge for the black cart would be $6.75. The green cart fee would be $9 and there would be a monthly charge of $8.50 for the blue cart.

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Officials said Wednesday that it will be users who pay for the service, rather than taxpayers.

The $20 million that is currently garnished from annual property taxes will no longer be needed.

“There really is a desire for the public to be able to point their finger or understand the services they’re receiving based on what they’re paying as taxpayers,” director of waste and recycling Rick Valdarchi said.

“They really want to understand the true cost of service; they want to be able to have a direct line of sight with what they’re paying and the service they’re receiving.”

The proposal is set to go before council on April 25, but some questions still remain.

READ MORE: How are the City of Calgary’s fees and fares changing in 2018?

Councillors on the committee were concerned the changes might result in double-dipping.

“We’ve got to make sure that what we’re doing doesn’t look like a shell game,” Jyoti Gondek said.

“If we somehow start charging fees for service before people can see the cost coming off of their tax bill, that’s going to look like we’ve billed them twice – and I don’t want that to be the case. I want to be very clear with the communication.”

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-With files from Aurelio Perri