By Jeremy Appel
Redcliff town council passed the final reading of its Garbage Rates and Collection Bylaw in a close 4-3 vote at its June 11 meeting.
Councillors Shawna Cockle, Larry Leipert and Chris Czember were opposed to the motion, which increases the rates residents pay for garbage collection to keep up with increasing capital and tonnage costs for the Redcliff Cypress Regional Waste Management Authority.
Under the bylaw, tonnage fees will increase to $48 per tonne from $36 per tonne.
Leipert suggested the town go into its reserves to reverse the rate increase.
“I just looked at the budget here and we’re predicting to contribute to a sur of $106,000, we have $41,000 for amortization,” he said. “We can hold off on the increase.”
Coun. Cathy Crozier responded that the reserves aren’t intended to subsidize growing garbage rates.
“These reserves are meant for emergency situations (and) replacing the bins that we put off replacing because we didn’t think we’d be using them anymore,” she said in a thinly-veiled reference to the curbside recycling and garbage pickup motion that was voted down 4-3 in February, which would have seen residents receive new bins to divide up their waste.
“I oppose using reserves to offset any increase, because it’s a double-edged sword.
“We can do it this year, but next year is going to be a double whammy, because there will be another increase next year.”
The bylaw’s first two readings were passed at the May 28 meeting, with just Cockle and Leipert opposed.
Czember said he changed his position on the bylaw because he realized that offsetting the increase would require taking less money from the reserves than he initially thought.
“The prices have been constantly changing and I don’t think that’s fair for the consumer,” Czember said.
“I didn’t want to lose the $200,000 out of our account, but because this year there would be a small profit (of $160,000), I’m okay with eating up this year’s small profit … and running at a slight deficit for this year.”
The new rates go into effect on July 1.