Vic­to­ria study­ing its trash col­lec­tion op­tions

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY TERRY ROBERTS

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.”

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