Quesnel City Council gave the first three readings to its Comprehensive Fees Bylaw at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Director of Finance Kari Bolton recommended several changes…
“For water utility fees we will continue with the 5 percent increase to utility rates. This is just to pay for significant projects that are scheduled for the water fund. The sewer utility fees we’re also recommending a 5 percent increase just because of the recent Baker Creek flooding issues resulted in having to rebuild a huge sewer line over there.”
Bolton says those increases would amount to $10.76 per year for an average home in Quesnel for water, and 13 dollars for sewer.
Another change being recommended is for the landfill…
“We’re going to be lowering the maximum tonnage for residents to 150 kilograms. We’ve done the research and over 90 percent of the loads are under that level, so that’s just again looking at best practices and trying to reduce the amount of waste that people bring to the landfill.”
Bolton also suggested two new fees…
“Starting January 1st all commercial cardboard going over the weigh scale will be charged 50 dollars per tonne to help offset the cost of our 100 dollars per tonne to process it. This was something we looked at in the summer when we started weighing all the commercial cardboard over the scale, and now we’re implementing the fee. Residential cardboard can still go to the recycle depot for free. In addition, there will be a charge for mattresses being dropped off at the landfill, because they are quite cumbersome to deal with.”
There would be a five dollar minimum for commercial cardboard, and the cost for a mattress would be $10 each if the load is 150 kilograms or less or 10 dollars each plus weight of garbage for loads of more than 150 kilograms.
The charge for mattresses ironically resulted in the most discussion among City Councillors and staff.
Councillor Ron Paull was concerned that it could result in people dumping them around town to avoid the cost.
City Manager Byron Johnson noted that it was a bit of a red herring…
“That’s actually an issue that comes up every time we raise the fees and what we have actually found is that it just doesn’t materialize. There may be the odd incident, but in general it doesn’t happen near as much as we’re concerned about. In fact, when we closed our landfill on Mondays we put cameras out there to make sure anyone who was going to illegally dump we would be able to identify them and it didn’t happen.”
Mayor Bob Simpson noted that it could be part of their waste management discussion once they dig into that issue.
The fees bylaw will come back to Council for final reading at an upcoming meeting.