Victoria studying its trash collection options
The Town of Victoria has asked a consulting company to study whether the municipality can be more efficient in its waste collection practices.
Mayor Arthur Burke confirmed last week that a firm will examine whether it would be feasible for the town to purchase its own trash compacting truck, and use its own staff to carry out waste collection.
“If it is feasible for us to do our own and save a buck, we will probably go that way,” Burke stated.
The town is currently under contract to a private waste collection company, and has budgetted some $ 133,000 for garbage collection in 2011. The company collects bulk and household garbage, and delivers it to the regional landfill at Robin Hood Bay in St. John’s.
Burke said the issue is “not a priority,” but will be on the radar in the coming months.
A compacting truck will cost in excess of $200,000, and the cost will only go higher if the town decides to have multiple compartments in the truck for recycling.
Burke said of ficials with the provincial government have confirmed that cost-sharing might be an option.
The town already does its own snowclearing, using three pieces of equipment. Burke described the service as “ very efficient” and “second to none.”
But he cautioned there would have to be “significant” savings before the town decided to take on garbage collection.
“ We probably wouldn’t go through all the trouble to save $ 10,000. It would really have to pay off in the long run,” Burke said.
The rising cost of garbage collection is what prompted the review. Less than a decade ago, when the town was transporting its waste to the old CBN Incinerator in Harbour Grace, the town was paying $42,000 annually for garbage collection.
And with the tipping fees at Robin Hood Bay continuing to creep upwards — hitting $65 on April 1 — Burke and other municipal leaders are expressing deepening concern about the burden on taxpayers.
“If we’re only operating the town just to pay for garbage collection, it’s not going to be worth it,” he said.
Burke suggested that municipalities may have to “come together” and share equipment and services to a large degree.
Victoria has a population of roughly 1,900 citizens, and the town is slowly building a name for itself as a good destination for those seeking a quiet community that is close to amenities such as health care, shopping and recreation. The town shares a boundary with Carbonear and Salmon Cove, and has an annual operating budget of roughly $1.3 million.
Each year, between eight and 12 homes are being built, Burke said.
“ We’re a quiet little town to retire in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Burke said council has temporarily shelved discussions about hiring a chief administrative officer/ town manager. Burke said council was not prepared to raise the taxes necessary to pay for the extra position.
“It will probably be looked at again down the road,” he explained.
“ We have a good staff, but our town is growing and we need somebody who is experienced and can look into the future and make a plan for us.”