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County of Wetaskiwin garbage pick-up could see cost hike

Rural garbage collection rates not changed since 2009

County of Wetaskiwin council discussed the possible retirement of garbage collection contractors during their regular Public Works meeting Aug. 14.

The agenda item was presented to council by Manager of Public Works Neil Powell.

“The County currently provides residential garbage collection at many of our Hamlets and select subdivisions,” stated Powell in his report.

“The collection is performed by County forces and by four private third party contractors, and is governed by policy 4305 Garbage Pick-up Services Within Hamlets and Subdivisions and by Bylaw 2008/73, ‘Waste Management Bylaw’.

“The current contracts with the four private third party contractor’s will expire at the end of 2019. Many of these individuals are well past retirement age and most have indicated that they will not renew their contracts for another term. To this effect, the County needs to evaluate the current garbage collection service and decide what type of service to provide at the beginning of 2020. The reason that this issue if before council in mid 2018, is that one of the options requires at least 12-14 months lead time to implement. Before much of this preparation work is done, Administration is seeking council direction as to what the garbage collection service should look like in 2020.

“The County currently provides weekly collection of bagged garbage at 927 residences throughout the County,” stated Powell’s report.

Powell provided councilors with a cost analysis that noted annual revenues totaled $109,60, annual expenses totaled $116,305,

third party contracting average cost per residence per month was $10.43 while county average cost per residence per month was $10.48.

“The cost per month per residence with respect to third party contracting versus County forces is virtually identical,” stated Powell.

“Customers are currently charged $10 per month for the service. This rate has not changed since 2009 and needs a review to reflect rising costs and to balance revenues to expenses.” He also stated administration costs were not reflected in these numbers either. Powell also pointed out the City of Wetaskiwin’s garbage fee is roughly $37 while Millet’s is about $21.

Powell said council had four options to consider: Maintain the current service level with local contractors, maintain the current service level with county staff, move to automated truck collection of roll out carts (third party service) or the county would purchase two side load automated trucks for the collection of roll out cart.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers said she favoured option #1 which would keep local contractors involved and keep the work local. “I’d like to employ local first,” said the reeve.

Councilor Lyle Seely agreed, stating option #1 should be explored and see how much interest there is in the contracting community for this work. “Keep that money local,” said Seely.

Councilors unanimously agreed on option #1.