(continued)
New garbage collection approved

July 14, 2015

Town Council

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Beginning October 1st (2015), Saugeen Shores garbage collection will no longer be done by the municipality.

BASWR (Bruce Area Solid Waste Recycling) has been the service provider for recyclables  and, after Council's approval on Monday night (July 13), will now move into overall garbage collection.

Although there is not a huge financial difference ($13,545 initially) between the municipality and BASWR's taking over the service, it will also result in Public Works reducing its complement from 28 to 26 employees.  According to Public Works Director, Stu Doyle, the reduction is due to attrition and will not result in any lay-offs or job losses.

Any change in operations proposed by BASWR will also have to be approved by the Town.  One level of change being considered is a legacy collection issue in Southampton.

"There are 23 commercial properties in the Southampton core that have been receiving twice a week curbside collection," said Doyle.  "This higher level of service pre-dates amalgamation and has not be reviewed since then.  It is proposed that the service be reduced to once a week to reduce costs and reflect equity between the merchants in both downtown cores (Southampton and Port Elgin).

"This is a big change," said Vice Deputy Mayor Diane Huber, "and I am not convinced that the dollar cost savings are there and I am not convinced we have enough information to get at the value of reallocation of labour.   We just purchased a new packer in 2013 and now it's surplus.  I see that leaf pick-up may be started again and, if we no longer have garbage packer, what then.   It also concerns me that we are losing student jobs.  Reduction in Southampton however, should have started long ago.  This is also a legal document and there are significant errors.  I don't have enough information on labour reallocation to make this a compelling decision for me."

"What we are running into now are specialized jobs that we can't meet with the labour we have," said Doyla. "There are days when there are four employees on the packer and we could re-purpose those hours on core maintenance instead of riding a packer truck around.  Our core services, such as tree issues that we can't staff and many others that is making it more  difficult."

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Councilor Neil Menage said that dollar values of transfer with the reduction of two employees should not just disappear into the big financial sphere. ... we get public opinion all the time 'how did amalgamation help us ... how did we save any money?'  I would like to see a report that sets out the amount of savings."

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau said that, admittedly, there is no great cost savings. Financially, in 2016, it's a wash, but there is the possibility of long-term savings."

"There is also a whole change happening in what our public works does and doesn't do," he added. "We  are recalibrating what our employees do in  specialized areas that require highly-skilled labour to do the things are required by the avalanche of regulations that we face from Queen's Park (provincial govt.).  We require sidewalks to be inspected, snow removal to meet standards, inspecting signs, etc. all because we bear tremendous liability and there are things where we require skilled labour on the ground.  In areas where we can contract services out with no impact to permanent staff, I think we should be doing that and focus our employees on the things that must be done.  This is an elegant way of doing that through attrition and the timing that doesn't affect our employees.  I support the motion and think we will have a stronger department in the future.

The recommendation was carried.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015