The price of bag tags and tipping fees still may still increase by July 1, 2022, but not as much as was originally projected.
At a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday (May 10, 2022), the city administration agreed to only raise the price of bag tags by $.50 to $2.50 for both residents and non-residents, and not differentiate between the two.
Originally city council agreed to increase the price to $2.50 for Kenora residents, and $3.00 for non-residents, at a City Council meeting on March 22, 2022. Councillor Graham Chaze supports the new bag tag price, as he was the only one at that city council meeting in March, who voted against the tiered pricing model.
“We just spent some time talking about how people are hurting, the cost of gas, the cost of groceries,” says Councillor Chaze. “I think a fee increase to $2.50 is a reasonable amount, more reasonable than $2.75.”
“It’s been no secret I don’t support a tiered system. Having said that I think a $2.50 increase across the board is where we should go,” adds Chaze.
The proposed increase would add to their annual revenue by $129,451, and the city says that amount could rise due to a spike in sales before the new rate takes effect. However, this option would see a loss in projected increased revenues by removing the tiered system which is estimated at a loss of projected increased revenue of $29,283.00, compared to tiered.
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.
Councillor Rory McMillan supports the uniform bag tag increase and suggested that future rate increases be reviewed by the council once every term.
“Even a review could say that this term we’re not increasing the bag tag or we are increasing the bag tag, but that provision will be put in perhaps from a timing perspective the third year of the term,” says McMillan.
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.
In regards to general tipping fee increases, the city is looking at a general use rate increase at the transfer station as well. A tipping or a gate fee is paid by residents who dispose of their waste in a landfill and is based on the weight of the garbage being disposed of.
After discussion, councillors tentatively agreed on option 3, which would increase the minimum tipping charge by five dollars from $15 to $20. In addition fees such for commercial garbage, industrial ash, sewer sludge, and contaminated soil would see an increase per tonne.
If approved, the new tipping fee increases would add $163,326 in revenue, for a total of $473,415 to add each year into a reserve fund.
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.
Councilors will vote on the increases to bag tags and tipping fees at a city council meeting on May 17, 2022.