Delving even deeper into budget considerations, the city’s elected officials have set their sights on finding efficiencies within the city’s sanitation budget.
With the budget up for discussion during Monday’s executive committee meeting, Coun. Charlene Miller was the first to point out some items that might trim the bottom line.
Part of the issue is with residents putting inappropriate items in their recycling bins, which adds cost to the city, she said.
“Short of being more aggressive on the bin inspections, I don’t know what more we could do to get the public more on board with this one,” public works director Colin Innes said.
“I would like to take a tougher approach as council,” Miller responded, adding that those who prove themselves unable to follow instructions should have their bins taken away -- a motion she plans on bringing up during next Monday’s city council meeting.
“We know that we have some bins that are going straight to the landfill, which is disappointing,” Coun. Martin Ring said, citing an estimated six per cent of waste within city recycle bins.
“Maybe it needs to be optional,” Coun. Lee Atkinson said. “If you do want to recycle, then the fee for that service is maybe $40 … and those who do not wish to participate … is $60, therefore there’s an incentive to participate -- a financial one.”
“I’m tired of the education program,” Dionne said. “I want revenue … let’s start enforcement.”
It’ll take a lifetime of hand slaps before certain people heed the city’s demands for residents to only put paper into recycle bins.
“If we charge them a $500 fee, they won’t do it again,” he said.
Also at issue within the sanitation budget is the city’s practice of collecting yard waste -- a program Atkinson referred to as “fiscally irresponsible.”
Atkinson suggested a centralized pickup location instead of city crews driving down every back lane in the city.
This program currently costs the city about $95,000 per year, Innes said, with crews collecting 1.2 million pounds of material per year.
By the end of the month, city council is expected to approve a 2013 sanitation fund operating budget, which is tentatively set to receive an operating revenue of $3.17 million and operating expenses of $2.87 million, the balance of which going toward funding capital projects.
But, it won’t be until April that a meeting will be held for council to discuss their concerns about the budget, such as the $95,000 yard waste collection currently up for debate.
As Dionne has stated numerous times throughout budget discussion so far, budget discussions will not end with its implementation.
“To protect the taxpayer, if we determine that the $95,000 will not be used, we will move it immediately to the stabilization fund so that (administration) can’t use it for something else,” he said.
“No one can spend money out of that account the approval of council.”
The same applies for anything else the city’s elected officials are able to pull out of the budget after it’s been approved.