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City decides on fee hike
The City of Kelowna will raise the cost of garbage collection for its residents and user fees at the Glenmore Landfill over the next two years to help pay for future capital improvements at the facility.
The city says the proposed 11.5 per cent increase over the next two years is part of a long-term strategy aimed at ensuring the financial viability of the landfill.
The city spends $15 million per year on solid waste operations and processes 200,000 tonnes of waste from the entire region each year.
The increases, affecting both curbside pick-up of garbage in the city and loads taken to the landfill, will see curbside pick-up rates jump to $187.92 in 2012 and $197.20 in 2013 from the current $176.82.
Loads taken directly to the landfill by individuals will increase to $8 per load in 2012 and to $10 per load in 2013 from the current rate of $6 per load.
Yard waste loads under 250 kilograms will continue to be free and yard waste loads larger than 250 kilograms will increase to $40 from the current $25 each.
Other large waste amounts will rise to $65 per tonne as of next year, up from the current $55 per tonne.
In his report to council, city infrastructure planning director Randy Cleveland said the purpose of the new financial model is:
• To ensure users pay the full costs of each service with the full cost including land, operations, maintenance, capital equipment and facilities so no part of the operation is subsidized by taxpayers
• To provide transparency and accountability to the customers in the city and region
• To plan for the financial viability of the landfill until the end of its service life
• To provide a financial basis for benchmarking the efficiency of the Kelowna operation against other jurisdictions and in relation to its past performance.
“Developing the long-term financial model showed that the overall operation is currently financially viable regarding all operating costs, including the routine capital associated with the internal road construction and landfill gas reclamation piping,” Cleveland said in his report.
“Slight adjustments are needed, however, to balance the revenue with costs at the level of individual services.”
He said the former fee structure did not generate enough money to pay for planned capital expansion at the landfill over the next 20 years. That work could cost as much as $61 million.
“The landfill is still in the developmental phase,” said Cleveland. “Two of the three fill areas have been developed. The first and smallest area is reaching capacity and will need to be closed soon.”
He said the third, and largest, area will need to be developed for environmentally safe burial of garbage, beginning with the construction of a new entrance on the south side of the site within the next few years.
The majority of the capital expenditures needed for future garbage burial operations will be paid for through tipping fees collected from both individuals and commercial contractors.
“An adjustment to the tipping fee is needed,” said Cleveland.
The new charges will affect 34,400 households in the city.
Coun. Robert Hobson said it’s important, given that the landfill is a regional facility, that the region pay for its operation.
Assured it was a financially self-sufficient facility, paid for by the tipping fees charged to all who use it, Hobson noted other areas in the region get a benefit and should help pay for future capital improvements.
The city charges other municipalities a fee for dumping their garbage at its landfill.