City council uses surplus to cut costs for garbage, recycling bins

By Doug Collie, Editor

North Battleford city council has decided to cut the cost for obtaining recycling bins for residents by dipping into a Waste Management Facility surplus.

The idea was proposed by North Battleford Mayor Ian Hamilton during last week’s city budget meeting. During a second budget meeting, held Monday night, administrative staff suggested using $650,000 from a $1.63 million surplus in the waste management utility.

(Adminstrative staff proposes putting another $300,000 of that surplus into the Waste Management Facility reserve, $200,000 to cover costs to decommission the landfill at the end of its life, and $483,484 for other City projects).

As a result, city residents will pay a total of $15 a month, ($9 for garbage pickup and $6 for recycling pickup). The city will cover the remaining cost — estimated to be about $1 per household – via the surplus.

Residents will roll the carts to the curb. Pickup will be done every two weeks, with the black garbage bins being emptied one week and the blue recycling bins the other week.

City Councillor Greg Lightfoot, who chaired Monday night’s meeting (Mayor Ian Hamilton was unable to make it) defended the $15 per month cost.

“There’s an operational cost for recycling, and that’s projected to be $1.5 million this year. We do have to try and collect that cost,” he told reporters.

Councillor Ryan Bater registered concerns about pickup every two weeks, especially in the summer, given concerns about smell and possible health issues resulting from rotting garbage.

But noting communities like Saskatoon pick up garbage every  two weeks and that weekly pickup would increase costs, he went along with the idea of providing pickup every two weeks initially, then reviewing it to see how that works.

As reported by the Daily News last week, the bins will be purchased from a third party and begin as early as this spring; at least for the recycling bins.

Councillors say people who have already bought blue recycling bins will be reimbursed, perhaps on a pro-rated basis.