According to the town engineer, Sackville could save more than $20,000 on garbage collection next year.
Dwayne Acton told council last Monday that a bid from Miller Waste Systems came in at $246,161.18 for 2019 garbage collection, $23,619 lower than the 2018 cost of $272,207.00.
Acton said he will be asking council to approve a new five-year contract with Miller Waste at its regular meeting this Tuesday. He said that the town would have the option to renew the contract for an extra two years. The current Miller Waste contract expires on December 31st.
The only other bidder was Fero Waste and Recycling Inc., but Acton said that bid was rejected because of errors in the tender submission.
When Councillor Michael Tower asked about the errors, CAO Phil Handrahan said he would rather not discuss the specifics of the bid until the town has had a chance to review the matter with its lawyers. He promised to let council know of any new information that comes out of the review.
Lower residential costs
Meantime, Acton said Miller Waste’s lower bid for next year resulted from a reduction in the cost of residential pickup, not from elimination of the special summer collection for larger items. If council approves the new contract on Tuesday, Miller Waste will continue special collections in spring and fall as well as one for Christmas trees.
Acton said costs are based on a levy per unit. For example, the annual cost of residential pickup under the Miller Waste contract would be $87.29 per unit.
Once again, Acton made it clear that the new contract would not include the collection of garbage from apartment buildings with more than four units.
He said that as far as he knows, no other municipality collects garbage from larger apartment buildings.
He said apartment building collection would cost the town an extra fifty to sixty thousand dollars and that it would be difficult to integrate landlords, tenants and haulers into the three-stream waste system.
At present, landlords who use one bin for unsorted garbage, pay extra to dispose of the waste. The Southeast Regional Service Commission charges a tipping fee of $75 per tonne for sorted waste and $85 per tonne for unsorted garbage — a fee that is expected to increase year by year to encourage landlords to adopt the three-stream system.
Councillor Bill Evans said that while he is willing to vote for awarding the garbage contract without including apartment buildings, the system isn’t fair.
“The people who have been paying the property taxes on these apartment buildings have been paying and not getting the service,” Evans said. “[But] if we’re the only community doing it, it’s going to be too much of a challenge.”
Evans added that the Southeast Regional Service Commission has “got to crank up the tipping fees” on unsorted garbage to force landlords to adopt three-stream sorting.
Councillor Bruce Phinney said imposing new rules on apartment buildings would only hurt tenants.
“People who live in apartment buildings are living there because they can’t afford their own homes, they’re on a limited income,” Phinney added. “It is a problem that we’ve had around for as long as I’ve been on council, that’s been almost 15 years.”
Phinney said that’s why he would never vote in favour of forcing apartment building landlords to sort garbage.