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How much is your garbage worth?
by Sandy Lindsay

January 14, 2015

Editorial

 Correction

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It has been brought to our attention that there may have been a misunderstanding regarding the annual flat fee for garbage and the landfill site and we are attempting to set the record straight. 

During the recent 2015 Operations Budget discussions in Saugeen Shores, Director of Public Works, Stu Doyle, suggested that a flat fee of $50 per year per property be charged, not just for the operations of the services, such as garbage and recycling pick-up, but in order to begin building a reserve fund for the future of the landfill.

 As a measure for diverting recyclable refuse/garbage that was going into the local landfill site in order to extend its life span, which is now between 12 to 15 years, bag tags were  introduced as a 'user' pay system.

The Saugeen Shores Bag Tag program, where users buy a tag at $2.00 for each bag of garbage has, in fact, been very successful in diverting recyclables from the landfill and will continue.

The problem however, is the area of Saugeen Shores.  As a seasonal destination, many residents are what as known as 'summer residents'.  They own properties but most only take up residence during the summer months.

Then, there are the 'snowbirds' who fly south in the winter to warmer climes for months at a time.

Whether a 'summer resident' or 'snowbird', when not living in either Southampton or Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores), those residents are not contributing to one of the most expensive services we have ... garbage collection, disposal and recycling, which operationally must be maintained year round.

In addition, with only a dozen or so years left in the life of the current landfill and given that a new site or expansion will cost many millions of dollars in the future, it is time to begin building a reserve fund - while maintaining the existing service.

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When the suggestion was brought forward by Doyle at the recent budget meeting, there was much discussion around the table.  Some did not want to see a flat fee at all.  Some thought there should be an increase to the bag tags, but Doyle pointed out even with a slight increase there would still be a financial shortfall to finance a reserve and operations for the future.  Some agreed that a flat fee might be appropriate but were only willing to support half the recommendation at $25 per year. 

At $50 per year based on 52 weeks, we are looking at $1 per week, or 13cents a day, to help fund a landfill for the future and maintain the level of service we have.  Is there anyone out there who owns property who can't afford $1 per week or thirteen cents a day to ensure there is a landfill for your children and grandchildren? 

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Thursday, January 15, 2015