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Council, M.D. address landfill cost issues

Posted on February 13, 2014 by Vauxhall Advance

Local residents may be paying a little more for Municipal District of Taber residents to use the Town of Vauxhall landfill.

At their regular meeting on Feb. 3, Vauxhall town council discussed an issue with the cost sharing agreement between the M.D. and Vauxhall regarding expenditures for the Vauxhall landfill, which the M.D. had apparently deemed too high.

“This year when they got the bill, they essentially said, ‘Well, that seems a little too high,’” said Coun. Richard Phillips.

As a result, council decided to find a way to reduce the bill so it would be more acceptable to the M.D. Phillips said while there were many static costs involved with operation of the landfill, he thought there could be some way to reduce the bill when it came to administration and labour costs.

Major costs include contract maintenance freight, waste fees for weighing garbage, and payment requisitions.

“There’s a lot of other nickel and dime stuff in there that isn’t a big issue really,” he said. “If we as council can say, ‘yeah, we can live with less,’ I think the M.D. would happily pay half of what we would all consider to be a reasonable bill,” he added.

The total list of expenditures for the landfill for 2013 is $140,002.65. As they pay 50 percent of the cost, the cost to the M.D. was originally $70,001.66. Indirect labour costs, such as administration, for the landfill totaled $14,879 for 2013, according to Phillips.

By removing those and other costs, council was able to reduce the M.D. portion of the bill. In all, council was able to reduce the total bill by $20,874.70, and the M.D. portion down to $59,564.31.

“As council, we feel the M.D.’s offer to share 50 per cent of the landfill costs is certainly reasonable,” said Phillips. “We agree we don’t need to be assessing our indirect administration charges onto that bill to try to get it down to what I think everyone would recognize is a more reasonable level for the M.D. to cost share.”

Phillips also brought up the landfill’s hours of operation for discussion, saying council should look at the idea of increasing them.

He noted the reduced hours of the landfill has been a “sore point” with some users.

Landfill hours are currently Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phillips said there is additional maintenance and upkeep work done on days the landfill is not open to the public but said he thought the hours of operation may be a cause for concern with Vauxhall and M.D.

Phillips said he was hopeful council could come to an understanding with the M.D., and stressed the importance of working together for mutual benefit.

“We want to have a good working relationship with the M.D.,” he added. “That’s critical.”

In order to offset some landfill costs, the Town of Vauxhall pays $41,000 for their recycling program, which town chief administrative officer Barb Miller said “significantly reduces” costs at the landfill.

The M.D. currently does not share the cost of this program, which helps keep freight costs down by diverting paper, plastics, and tin from the transfer station.

Resolution

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the M.D. of Taber addressed an invoice from the Town of Vauxhall for landfill costs totaling $59,564.31 during their regular meeting. The bill was deemed in line with the payment expectations of the M.D.

“For 2013, it looks like they took a bit better look at their costs for the landfill,” said Bryan Badura, M.D. manager of finance. “(The bill) is pretty much in line with what we were looking at with their 2012 invoice.

At the end of their discussion, the M.D. passed a motion to pay the bill.

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