Waste Cost Recovery a Challenge for Council

Written by on December 18, 2022

By John Freer

Wrestling with the issue of cost recovery from its rubbish and recycling collections, is a challenge for Thames Coromandel District councillors.

With an annual bill in excess of $8 million, council has decided that a consultation process will be undertaken, with residents and ratepayers, through its annual plan process.

A staff report to a recent meeting of the new council, recommended a pay as you throw model – this is where a rates fee is imposed to cover operational costs along with pre-paid tags for wheelie bins rubbish collections.

From September next year council will provide a weekly residential kerbside collection covering food waste in a 25-litre caddy, a fortnightly refuse collection in a 140-litre bin replacing plastic bags, a fortnightly 240-litre recycling bin collection, with the 45-litre crate for glass bottles and jars being collected fortnightly.

Increased collections will also remain for the eastern seaboard, Coromandel Town and North over the summer holidays.

One of the options put in the paper presented to Council was a single levy covering all waste services to be applied in the annual rates. The single levy is estimated at between $491.30 and $576.35 a year depending on location.

The preferred staff option was a rates levy of around $200 a year – the balance of the costs being met by a tag purchasing option.

Council staff requested the matter be sent for public consultation on the options, which prompted significant discussion at the recent meeting

Cr Peter Revell believed more information was required before the matter went out to public consultation, saying the council needed to provide a breakdown of the costs so that residents and ratepayers could understand the situation.

Cr Deli Connell was up front saying she was going to come down on the side of all charges being in the rates, and not tags. She did express concern on people “fly tipping” to avoid having to pay.

Representing the South-Eastern Ward, Cr Terry Walker said holiday homeowners would not be happy if the total costs were applied to rates, he would opt for the tag system.

Consideration of all potential options was something Cr John Grant suggested, saying the matter raised several issues, in particular with non-resident ratepayers.

“This is a really significant increase in price and there will be an expectation that we have explored all the avenues around these prices. I feel a little uncomfortable about whether what’s been presented meet that threshold.”

Coromandel’s John Morrissey said: “Throw the bone out there and get the feedback – see what we have to deal with. We need to get it out there.”

Mayor Len Salt told the meeting that he had a sense, councillors were looking for a lot more information and detail on the changes. He suggested the matter be dealt with in the annual planning process.

Therefore, residents and ratepayers will now have their chance to have their say with the annual plan review next March.

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