On October 22, 2015 from 9am to 11am there was a special council meeting on the Financial Plan. No new services are proposed for 2016. Here are some of the highlights:
User fees will increase 2.7% in 2016 (about $70.94 per average household).
Future property tax increases are projected at 4.1%, 3.2%, 2.1% and 1.5% for 2017 through 2020.
The 2016 Operating Budget requires funding of $135 million representing an increase of 1.7% in property taxes from the 2015 approved Operating Budget.
Water User Fees will increase 7.5% per year through 2020. This increase in User Fees includes a 2.5% contribution to asset management.
Sewer User Fees will increase by 5% in 2016 and 4% per year thereafter until 2020 for asset management.
Garbage User Fees are projected to increase by 1% in 2016.
Police Services is requesting an additional four RCMP members. Council has approved an addition of two staff, one in the Information Technology Department and another in Police Support Services.
Garbage collection and the Duke Point incinerator
At the Monday Council meeting on October 26, 2015 there was a two hour debate on garbage trucks. The question was should council purchase eight automated garbage trucks for $9 million which would include 90,000 garbage bins. There would be three new bins, one for garbage, recycling, and food waste.
Councillor Bestwick put forward a motion to purchase two new automated garbage trucks and 30,000 bins. The rationale was to see how the new system goes. Those voting in favour were Mayor Mckay, Councillors Bestwick, Hong, Yoachim, Fuller, and Kipp. Opposed was Brennan and Thorpe. Councillor Pratt walked out before the vote. Pratt expressed frustration and wanted the council to support the entire package because of added purchasing incentives with the bulk purchase.
During the discussion Councillor Bestwick pointed out that council had approved the purchase of two garbage trucks in June. Then in September a new City report suggested to purchase eight automated garbage trucks.
Councillor Kipp pointed out that recycling pick-up would be going in-house and would be no longer contracted out.
Councillor Fuller had serious concerns regarding the huge size of the garbage bins and thought they might cause injury to residents trying to get them to the curb because they are so massive. Also, he wondered if there would be incentives for those who put out small amounts of garbage, but was told it was not possible to customize or scale garbage user fees.
Yet for example, since March of 2006 Vancouver residents are now using an automated garbage bin system, which standardized the garbage bins. Households that require bigger bins pay a higher price.
For example, Vancouver homeowners can purchase five different sizes – from the smallest, a 75-litre, container size bins that cost $70 a year, up to the 360-litre bins that cost $147 per year.
It cost Vancouver $11 million in capital costs to set up its new garbage collecting system.
How do all these changes to garbage pick-up work with the plans for a new garbage incinerator at Duke Point? With these new massive garbage bins there will definitely be more to burn.