Valley Waste cancelling fall cleanup, leaf collection to save costs

Kirk Starratt
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Valley Waste sign

The board chairman says it’s “uncharted ground,” but Valley Waste has officially cancelled fall cleanup and leaf collection this year to help reign-in the budget.

Valley Waste Resource Management board chairman Mark Pearl and general manager Ross Maybee visited Kings County council in advance of council voting on the Valley Waste budget. In an effort to bring an anticipated 20 per cent budget increase down to just over 11 per cent, several cuts had to be made. These include fall cleanup and leaf collection for this year.

“There will be garbage put out that won’t be picked up,” Pearl told county council, pointing out that there could be “other issues” arising as well.

Pearl said they have a budget to educate the public of the changes and most waste resource authorities have only one cleanup per year. However, the fall cleanup and leaf collection for this year have already been promoted in the Valley Waste calendar. Pearl said there is no co-ordinated effort at this time on the part of the nine member municipalities to make people aware of the change.

“I’ll make sure we get it to the table,” Pearl said.

Municipalities are able to fund their own cleanup if they wish, but Pearl said they should discuss this with Valley Waste first.

Maybee said he isn’t aware of any unit reinstating the service, but added that if any were interested, Valley Waste could act as a broker. He pointed out that a disposal location is still available and people are being asked to maximize the spring 2015 cleanup, which is still scheduled. There will be a 20-item limit at that time.

Warden Diana Brothers said villages expressed concern with the loss of the fall cleanup.

Maybee said Valley Waste is aware of these concerns. He said the cancellation was a “tough decision” that “wasn’t taken lightly.”

“I envision a public relations nightmare,” Maybee said. Although approximately $700,000 in budget cuts have been made, most are “invisible” to the public but this will have an impact.

The budget increase would have been approximately 13.71 per cent if they continued with fall cleanup. The fall cleanup costs about $118,220. With fewer tonnes being delivered to the landfill in Chester, Valley Waste’s cost per tonne will increase since they share in Chester’s fixed operating costs.

Coun. Emma Van Rooyen expressed concern over the possibility of more illegal dumping if the fall cleanup isn’t held.

“Undoubtedly we’ll see some of that,” Maybee said.

However, he said people seem to getting more in tune with reporting such activity. Although illegal dumping still happens with spring and fall cleanups, there has been a “continual decrease.”

Although Deputy Warden Brian Hirtle moved to have staff bring recommendations on a fall cleanup in September, the motion didn’t get a seconder.

 

Council approves budget

A Valley Waste board representative said there were “gasps” around the table when people realized the authority was facing a 20 per cent budget increase.

Coun. Dale Lloyd said the authority has returned about $1.3 million in surpluses to municipalities over the past 15 years, but suggested perhaps excess funds should be placed in an operating reserve.

Council voted to recommend approval of the 2014-2015 budget. The nine member municipalities have to pay a combined $7,162,628, with the county’s share at just over 58 per cent at $4.1 million. The county’s contribution will increase by $396,000 this year, although a higher increase was anticipated and $490,000 was budgeted.

Coun. Kim MacQuarrie said council passed a motion in the past that all Valley Waste surpluses are returned to the municipality. She asked how the authority was able to use last year’s surplus of $87,250 to help reduce the increase to this year’s budget. The county’s share would be approximately $30,000.

Chief administrative officer Tom MacEwan said Valley Waste received legal advice and suspended the policy to return the surplus. Because this is by policy and not an agreement, it was legal. An amendment to the inter-municipal agreement will be sought, MacEwan added.

Other measures to reduce the budget included deferring filling the manager of policy and planning position, eliminating the compliance inspector position, increasing tipping fees and deferring capital purchases.

The authority will investigate the possible elimination of curbside collection for apartment complexes with three or more units and options for collection services in cottage country.

Opening of the popular Last Re-Sort Reuse Centre at Valley Waste’s Kentville headquarters was delayed until June. The store will be open on Saturdays until mid-December from 9 a.m. to noon.

 

Organizations: Valley Waste Resource Management board, Kings County council

Geographic location: Chester

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Recent comments

  • Kathy Rhoddy
    August 07, 2014 - 20:04

    If fall cleanup is taken away, then you will see much more garbage on the roadsides, etc. The valley floor will be a dump site itself. Also, people can be certain that once it is stopped this year, it will never be brought back. And the folks better hope that the voting members don't cancel the spring cleanup as well!! This is a dumb idea and one more thing that the tax payers are going to be cheated out of but still pay for!

  • Grouchy
    August 07, 2014 - 15:38

    5 years in the valley and have to say AVWM has worse waste management system going to the tax payers. HRM was much easier and convenient system to use then here

  • Kingston resident
    August 06, 2014 - 18:10

    wondering what we can do with our garbage...we don't have a truck.? As much as we try to cut back it is inevitable that there are things that have to go out with the clean up. I am concerned about people illegal dumping which could negatively affect our beautiful Valley. Is there another way to cut costs and perhaps the general public could have a say as it directly impacts us ? Also I think leaf pick up is a bit ridiculous why cant the leaves stay on the lawn or compost them ? why spend all that time, cost and energy raking and putting in non-compostable bags ?

  • Kingston resident
    August 06, 2014 - 18:08

    wondering what we can do with our garbage...we don't have a truck.? As much as we try to cut back it is inevitable that there are things that have to go out with the clean up. I am concerned about people illegal dumping which could negatively affect our beautiful Valley. Is there another way to cut costs and perhaps the general public could have a say as it directly impacts us ? Also I think leaf pick up is a bit ridiculous why cant the leaves stay on the lawn or compost them ? why spend all that time, cost and energy raking and putting in non-compostable bags ?

  • Charles Chetwynd
    August 06, 2014 - 16:33

    What are we paying taxes for? Given this type of service in conjunction with the outrageous rates we are being charged at the dump, it 's no wonder people are throwing out there garbage everywhere. What is the management managing - SHAMEFUL!!!!!

  • Joe Welsh
    August 06, 2014 - 08:34

    Interesting CAO Tom MacEwan said the last year's surplus is not to be given back to Kings County. He supended the "Policy" saying it was not a legal agreement. What was the intent of the surplus return agreement ? I would submit that County could as for the surplus to be returned. CAO's statement sounds like legal gobbly gook. How can an agreement between two groups be supended by the County 'sCAO when it appear complying with it would benefit the County? I would like to see that legal guidance CAO received made public.

  • Murrb
    August 06, 2014 - 06:41

    So our services decrease, but our taxes do not. Please explain how this is OK.

  • yves
    August 06, 2014 - 06:11

    wonder if they will incease the budget for illegal carbige dumb as few years ago during a strike illegal dump (wood area) incrase by 40% its a good idea to save money in regular carbidge to spend 3 time more to clean illegal dump those people realy know what they doing

  • janet
    August 05, 2014 - 21:34

    this is totally sick.....what do we do with our garbage...put it out to the road with regular garbage....there will be people that cant pay to have it taken to the dump. this will be a big messy disaster

  • Jeff
    August 05, 2014 - 19:55

    Offering a few weekends this fall with free tipping fees might be and incentive for some

  • Dorothy Pereaux
    August 05, 2014 - 17:38

    The fall clean-up is in the friggin' calendar! I don't give a dam about leaf pick-up- That's unnecessary, but a year is a long time to hold onto crap when you don't have storage space. Especially when you have PROOF hanging on your friggin fridge that you were supposed to pick up said crap on a specified friggin' date. Valley Waste (of my time) should make that change NEXT year.

  • janet
    August 05, 2014 - 17:02

    so what do with all the garbage ; like go to a back road and dump it in the woods ?????? isnt this part of OUR tax money that pays for this crap; so we dfo we recycle stop this as well;; its all bull crap any way costing us poor people more all the time for the clklear and the blue bags lets go back to just plain black again , let the workers earn their money there see how much u save then

    • R. Swicker
      August 05, 2014 - 20:05

      Give it a rest Janet...if you're so poor, try not creating so much garbage, or pay to take it yourself like the rest of us do all year.

  • janet
    August 05, 2014 - 16:58

    so what do with all the garbage ; like go to a back road and dump it in the woods ?????? isnt this part of OUR tax money that pays for this crap; so we dfo we recycle stop this as well;; its all bull crap any way costing us poor people more all the time for the clklear and the blue bags lets go back to just plain black again , let the workers earn their money there see how much u save then

  • Sheron Atwell
    August 05, 2014 - 14:15

    ok, I pay extremely high rural taxes because I built a new house in the last then years. Higher then my neighbors. I get snow plowing , and garbage pick up. NO lights , sidewalks, water or sewer. My taxes are always paid on time. I have had my garbage checked and examined. I recycle with zest. If they can pay for someone to go through my garbage and for sending out extra material they can pick up my garbage. Cancel the garage checker...I am not happy.

  • Valley Resident
    August 05, 2014 - 13:57

    Why are they even keeping the Re-Sort Reuse Center open??!! It's definitely not making any money.... Which only adds to the problem! I understand it's a good concept but if it's only losing money how is that helping anyone?!

  • Mark Levack
    August 05, 2014 - 12:45

    So, my property taxes have increased while my services get cut. The standard of living in NS continues to fall.