Saskatoon reveals potential costs for ‘pay as you throw’ garbage program
City administration is proposing changing to a bi-weekly collection of garbage and organics, with no changes to recycling programs.
On Wednesday, the city released multiple reports detailing the potential costs to homeowners and to the city.
While there will be several different options presented to city council, administration is recommending the city implements a three-year, phased waste-diversion rate structure.
For the smallest bin (180 litres), the cost may be $18 per month with the price staying the same over the following three years. While for a medium bin (240L), the cost would be $19.70 per month in the first year, increasing to $22.10 monthly in the second year, and $24.50 per month in the third year. A large bin (360L), may cost $22.80 per month in the first year, $29.50 per month in the second year and $36.20 per month in the third year.
Costs do not include a monthly fee of $5.65 for recycling pickup.
“The initial set or the initial rates as you mention, are very close together, that gives people an opportunity to interact with the organics program, an opportunity to see how their own behaviour impacts how much they are throwing away and then make decisions as time goes on,” said Russ Munro, the city’s director of water and waste stream.
“What we’ve found in looking at waste in Saskatoon right now is that majority of residents could already switch to a smaller bin and that’s without even taking into account the organics program.”
As this service would be funded as a utility instead of being included on property taxes, homeowner’s mill rates will also be impacted.
“Based on the comparative costs that are in the report, it would be a reduction of about 3.5 per cent off the mill rate, and of course that’s different for everyone depending on their property value,” Munro said.
The option that administration is recommending is expected to cost the city $13.6 million for the green and black carts, additional trucks and implementing the program. The money would be borrowed against the waste utility, to be paid back over a 10-year period.
This option would also require the city to hire 23 new staff members, with the annual operating costs expected to increase between $10.5 million and $12.7 million above the 2019 submitted budget.
The goal of the program is to reduce waste heading to the landfill by 70 per cent over the next five years.
“To be clear, these are things that are going to help us reach the 2023 waste-diversion goal. At the end of the day, that goal is something that not only administration but all of the residents of Saskatoon have to take part in and the idea here is to provide options,” Munro said.
He added other cities saw up to 40 per cent waste diversion where similar programs have been implemented.
The city has said if action isn’t taken to reduce the amount of waste currently going to the landfill, it would have to be closed and a new one opened at an estimated cost of $150 million.
These changes would apply mainly to single-family units, and not to apartment or condo buildings.
The recommendations still need to be brought forward at city council and no final decisions have been made yet. The city hopes to implement this program in 2019 and have it fully running by 2020.
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