Council for the Rural Municipality of Hanover has now given first reading to a cost increase within their Solid Waste Special Service bylaw.
Chief Financial Officer Derek Decru says their current bylaw was adopted in 2018 and has been in place since 2019. It expires on December 31st, 2023. This bylaw oversees Hanover's garbage and recycling collection and disposal.
The current rate being paid in Hanover is $167.90 per unit. Decru says Hanover's new bylaw, which would take effect in 2024, would increase to $249 per unit.
Prior to the municipality holding a public hearing, Decru noted that there seemed to be a misconception in the municipality that the addition of compost services is what is driving up the costs of the solid waste collection. However, Decru says that is not the case. In fact, he says covering the cost of compost is only about $7 to $9 per unit. In actuality, Decru says most of the increase is due to the costs associated with transporting the recycling to Winnipeg now that Eastman Recycling Services has closed.
The proposed increase from $167.90 to $249 is quite a jump, admits Decru. But he says this is a fee-for-service bylaw and they are simply trying to recoup what they are spending on the process.
The municipality received 11 letters of objection. Many of the letters had to do with composting and residents noting that they would prefer to take care of compost on their own. There were some objectors who suggested the money would be better spent on upgrading roads and others who said the increase is something they simply cannot afford.
Only two residents attended Wednesday's public hearing, and both noted their objections. Eva Werner-Stern noted that she does her own composting and does not need this RM service. She also mentioned how little she uses the municipality's garbage collection service, producing only about one bin of garbage per month.
"I don't see a need to increase recycling or to bring composting in," Werner-Stern told Council.
Randy Verestiuk says he too does his own composting and says for the one bag of garbage he creates each week; the cost increase is ridiculous.
"As far as I'm concerned we should have an option," Verestiuk told Council.
Councillor Travis Doerksen explained to Verestiuk that majority rules when it comes to these types of decisions and that if all of Verestiuk's neighbours want the service, they can not omit one house on a street that requests to opt out.
Following the public hearing, Council gave first reading to the bylaw. Reeve Jim Funk says the matter will now go to the municipal board. Funk admits he is surprised that more people did not show up to Wednesday's public hearing.