Starting on July 4, 2022, the price of bag tags and tipping fees are set to increase for residents.
The price increase will include differentiating between Kenora residents and non-residents. Residents will now pay $2.50, while non-residents will have to pay a higher rate of $3.00.
What classifies one as a Kenora resident and a non-resident? Kevin Gannon, Director of Engineering and Infrastructure was able to clarify the difference between the two classifications.
“When we’re looking at a resident, they’re a resident within the city boundary that they either pay taxes or they’re an individual who lives in city boundary, they can be a rental,” said Gannon. “Non-residents are anybody outside the city boundary line.”
For when it comes time to buy the different coloured tags, Gannon, says residents will need to provide their driver’s licence, utility bill, or a city tax bill to verify their address with retailers who sell sheets of garbage bag tags.
Gannon suggested at a previous Committee of the Whole meeting that the city will introduce and lay ‘significant’ fines on non-residents who try to purchase and use bag tags labeled for Kenora residents, with spot checks conducted by municipal staff.
A communication strategy is in the works from the City of Kenora to provide clarity on the new fee increases and the resident differentiating.
Councilor, Mort Goss said that there is a shortfall in garbage fees collected, which is why differentiating is necessary.
“That shortfall is being covered by residential tax dollars. I see no justification for charging city taxpayers to cover that shortfall. An option might have been to charge the same fee across the board, but I see that as punishing the current taxpayers, not an ideal situation.”
Goss also noted that the non-resident charge includes summer residents.
“You live outside those boundaries, pay a much lower tax rate to the province, as opposed to the city, you are a non-resident, and will pay the extra fee. This extra fee will also be charged to the summer residents who live outside the boundaries.”
The city notes that this is the first increase in bag tag fees in 20 years. The system came into effect in Kenora in 1999 at $1 per tag, which doubled in price in 2000.
The city notes the increased revenues for both the bag tags and tipping fees will go into a reserve for the next 19 years to go towards the new landfill.
The city’s current landfill was built in 2000 and was designed for a lifespan of 40 years with a designed annual tonnage of 20,265. The cost to construct a new landfill is estimated at $13-15 million dollars and an additional $3-5 million is required for the decommissioning of the old landfill site.
In 2021 the landfill accepted almost 34,000 tons of garbage which is approximately 167% of the designed annual tonnage. As a result, in a one-year timeframe, the city has reduced its landfill's designed life by 1.67 years.
The yearly tonnage the landfill can handle each year is 26,228.30. Should the City continue to encounter volumes in excess of 26,228 tonnes per year, the lifespan of the facility will continue to erode and require replacement sooner than 2041.
The increased tipping fees will bring in between $460,000 and $580,000 yearly, with increased bag tags prices adding $158,734 in revenue.