TBM council scales back extras for new waste collection contract

The Blue Mountains council is saving some money by reducing planned enhancements to the town’s garbage collection services.

Council made the decision to cut back on planned upgrades to waste collection at its meeting on Aug. 28. At a previous committee of the whole meeting, council heard that the costs of its garbage collection contract would jump more than 50 per cent in 2024 from $1,390,000 to more than $2.1 million. This alone represented a 3.79 per cent increase to the town’s tax levy.

At the committee level, council had chosen to proceed with adding that level of increase to the base budget for 2024.

However, after two weeks of thinking about it – council decided to make some changes.

“This is a significant ask that will stay with us a substantive amount of time,” said Coun. June Porter.

Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon, who was absent for the earlier committee of the whole discussion on the contract, concurred.

“There are cost savings. This is a significant number. Taking out a couple things, we may be able to mitigate that blow,” said Bordignon.

After a discussion about the matter, council asked that the town’s plan to increase the number of weeks it collects yard waste from eight to 12 be reduced to 10. Council also mandated that Christmas tree collection service remain the same number of weeks and that curbside collection of textiles and e-waste be eliminated from the contract.

Council also asked staff to remove a component of the garbage collection contract that required the contractor to have one electric vehicle collecting waste in the town.

The changes mean the town will maintain existing service levels, with two extra weeks of yard waste pickup added.

At the meeting, town staff estimated the cuts could save in the neighbourhood of $300,000 and reduce the tax levy impact from 3.79 per cent to 2.1 per cent.

The final impacts will be known once town staff have completed the negotiations on the new contract with the service provider.

Council approved the changes in a 5-1 vote with Mayor Andrea Mastrosovs opposed. Coun. Paula Hope was absent from that portion of the meeting.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca