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Curbside waste utility redesign proposal to meet 2023 diversion goal

For immediate release: September 5, 2018 - 4:18pm
TU18-506

After months of study, City Administration recommends bi-weekly collection of both garbage and organics – with no changes to recycling. It further recommends the new services be funded as a utility instead of from property taxes.

“We made a great deal of progress over the summer – conducting further research and examining all of City Council’s options to help inform these reports,” says Russ Munro, Director of Water & Waste Stream. “It was important for us to phase these decisions and take the time to consider all possible scenarios to ensure we were presenting solutions that not only make economic and environmental sense, but that also keep the best interests of our residents in mind.”

A series of reports will be presented Monday to the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities & Corporate Services. Together they address the environmental and financial sustainability of waste management in Saskatoon and help achieve the City’s goal of 70% waste diversion by 2023. The three reports are a follow-up to the June 25 Recommended Changes to Waste Management in Saskatoon report where City Council directed Administration to proceed with the development of a new Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) waste utility and mandatory city-wide organics program for curbside single-family homes.

As mentioned, the Waste Management Levels of Service – Curbside Organics and Pay-As-You-Throw Waste Utility report, recommends that the new service level for all curbside households be year-round bi-weekly collection of garbage and organics, with no changes to recycling. It is also recommended that these new services be funded as a utility rather than through property taxes.

The Ability-to-Pay Considerations for an Expanded Curbside Waste Utility report, includes considerations to ensure the program is affordable to residents of Saskatoon and address concerns around changing program funding from mill rate (subsidized by the commercial sector) to a utility. The new programs are expected to stay well within affordability thresholds for a range of income levels.

An additional report, Unified Waste Utility - Utility Rate Setting Philosophy, will present City Council with options for long-term financial rate setting, should they approve the recommendation to implement the new programs as a utility.

While the Administration recommends the most cost-effective level of service with a rate structure that incentivises waste diversion, City Council may select a different or any combination of service levels or rate structures. Either scenario will require the Administration to report back to City Council for final approval on service levels and rates.

”We are hopeful that these reports provide City Council with the details needed to make an informed decision,” says Munro. “These recommendations support Council goals and values with the long term objectives of Economic, Environmental and Social Sustainability for Saskatoon.”

For more information about the City’s waste diversion plan, visit saskatoon.ca/wastediversion. Review the full agenda for the September 10, 2018 Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services, including report attachments.