County Eliminates Bulky Waste Voucher

On Wednesday 30 January, the County announced that it had approved a budget within their guideline of 2.3% but to do that, they decided to eliminate the Bulky Waste Voucher program.  Each year at about this time, a voucher has been mailed to all Northumberland residences which allowed disposal of up to 100 kilograms of residential waste at no charge. This has a value of $11.50 and it’s estimated that this will save a total of $268,000 – or rather, the County will collect that much instead of providing the service free.  If my math is correct, that means they are now planning to collect up to $11.50 each from more than 23,000 people who would have used the vouchers in a year.  With 39,000 dwellings in the county (per Statistics Canada), that’s a very large proportion who are expected to make the trek to one of the waste dumps.  Irrespective, the idea is worthy – keeping the taxes low, or at least lower.

Bulky Waste Voucher
Bulky Waste Voucher

The image at right is what the voucher looked like for the year ending 31 January, 2019.

But County CAO Jennifer Moore points out that while this program will no longer be available, “With the introduction of the long-awaited organics collection program starting in September 2019, residents are likely to see off-sets in their waste disposal costs. People will have less waste going into their garbage bags, and so will be spending less on bag tags.” (see this article for more on this).  If you want to get rid of stuff, $11.50 does not seem like a big amount but I wonder if it’s realistic to expect 23,000 people to dump 100Kgm each year.

However, the announcement also gave a good summary of the County budget (see Links below for complete announcement).

Budget highlights

  • The Total budget is $123 million
  • Tax is about 50% of total County income – the rest comes from through a combination of grants, subsidies and revenue-generating activities.
  • The increase is a “two per cent base levy requirement”, as well as “a dedicated infrastructure Levy of 0.3 per cent”.  I would describe the 0.3% as a catch up for Capital projects.
  • The estimated increase to a median household in Northumberland County is projected to be $18.

Major Projects

  • Transition to two-stream recycling and the launch of a new organic waste (Green Bin) collection service.
  • Advancements in the redevelopment of the Golden Plough Lodge long-term care home.
  • Launch of detailed design for the new Campbellford Bridge.
  • Completion of an affordable housing strategy, with a focus on increasing the supply of rental housing at a variety of affordability depths.
  • Completion of a Natural Heritage System Master Plan to guide development in a way that preserves and enhances our natural environment for future generations.
  • Development of a Digital Strategy to guide the County’s digital transformation activities, as well as launch of a new corporate website.
  • Ground-breaking and construction of the new Trent Hills Emergency Centre.
  • Surface treatment for over 120 km of municipal and County roads.
  • Upgrades to County social housing.
  • Workforce development, attraction and diversity initiatives.

Links

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Sally Rohde

So County getting rid of Bulky Waste Voucher to save taxpayers $11.50 & using that saving to help implement Gray Bins. Well be prepared for a big increase of arm chairs/couches/old mattresses/fridges&stoves dumped into back country road ditches !!!!That’s what’s gonna happen.
WHAT A STUPID MOVE !!!!!!

sandpiper

All said and done between the Towns annual tax hike and the County’s Increase
take away the Cutbacks by both responsible governments What is the actual
impact per family or house hold ???
by the way were I live in town we have to pay for our own garbage disposal No Tag sys . here the county / town won’t pick it up

Walter L. Luedtke

All municipal governments in Ontario face an uphill battle in providing sufficient, adequate, affordable housing. Ontario is the only province where housing is a municipal responsibility, that means the County level for Northumberland.
Funding housing mainly with municipal property taxes is not sustainable. It is neither good public nor fiscal policy.
Fortunately, in 2015 Ottawa has picked up the ball with the National Housing Strategy providing a federal shot in the arm for Northumberland’s housing projects. That has amounted to $3.3 million since then.
Seems to me that the County is a bit late in finishing its ‘affordable housing strategy’. But then …
It still not clear whether the Ford government will try to balance the Provincial budget on the backs of the municipalities, as Mike Harris did before.
Time will tell.

Old Sailor

I will miss having that bulky waste voucher. My better half is a hoarder and I need to pull teeth to move unused junk to the bins at the Bewdley Transfer Station. So in the fall I remind my better half that the town’s annual bulk waste voucher is about to expire and magically I would be allowed to load up the SUV with never to be touched again junk.

Of course as much as possible first goes to the Restore, Beyond the Blue Box, Petticoat Lane or other similar NPO recyclers.

So it is not the $11.50 saving I will miss. It will be the once a year purging of the basement, garage and garden shed that I will miss. Perhaps if the town does not make a big public deal of this policy change I can continue on annually announcing that the bulky waste voucher is about to expire:):):):)

manfred s

while there are always going to be reactions to “loosing” benefits of any kind, responsible governance mandates the elimination of some benefits when new and perhaps overlapping benefits are introduced. It looks like this may be one such case and it’s good to see. Budgets can get bloated when such selective ‘weeding out’ is delayed or ignored to avoid the inevitable backlash. Good for County Council. However, vigilance over a potential increase in illegal dumping will need to be stepped up to avoid a more serious backlash.