Nanaimo residents will see their garbage bills jump by nearly $50 next year to pay for automated service.
The City of Nanaimo confirmed to the News Bulletin that the newly adopted user fee of $165 represents a 40 per cent increase compared to what residents paid in 2017 – a larger hike than was laid out in a city staff report this month.
Automated garbage service arrived for a third of the city in the fall and will spread to the rest of Nanaimo next year. It’s a system that will require a significant increase in user fees during the first five years due to the need to purchase new vehicles and wheeled carts, a staff report says.
On Monday, council adopted its municipal solid waste collection amendment, which will increase rates to $165 annually per residence in 2018. According to a staff report, it’s an increase of 24 per cent from the current annual rate of $133.
But those numbers don’t reflect what people actually paid this year and the impact to their pocketbook in 2018.
The $133 rate is based on pro-rating a user fee that came into effect July 1 and raised the rate from $102, resulting in an actual bill of $118 for 2017. It means that with the latest change, people will actually see a 40 per cent hike in next year’s bills compared to what they paid in 2017, confirmed Laura Mercer, the city’s manager of accounting services.
The report also says commercial rates will go up 10.8 per cent from $179 to $198, but users only paid a total $138 this year. Next year’s bill will be 43 per cent higher.
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Coun. Ian Thorpe was unaware of the difference in numbers but said it would not have changed his vote and he still thinks it’s a program the city needs to move ahead with.
“I think it’s going to be a very valuable and worthwhile service,” he said of automation. “I’d still point to the fact that the costs are projected to then decrease after next year over the next four to five years. So there will be a spike in costs and definite increase due to purchasing the bins and the trucks, but then we’ll start to see savings after that.”
The city’s proposed 2018-2022 financial plan shows fees will be $130 between 2019-2022 and $120 in 2023.