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Page 6 - SASKATOONEXPRESS - March 3-9, 2014


Maybe we should recycle city council

ight now the only garbage I want to recycle is generated from City

presumably the cheapest. Why? Single-dwelling homeowners didn’t get a choice between Hall. Cosmo and Loraas. Coun. A few months before the Darren Hill expressed concern last civic election, council about a sole-sourced contract to committed to giving Cosmo Cosmo which will cost multiIndustries the recycling contract dwelling owners more money for multi-dwelling collection than they are currently paying. and processing. It is shaping up Yet he had no problem giving to become just another broken the higher-bidding Loraas the election promise. single-dwelling contract and Columnist To recap, Cosmo Industries kicking the lower bid by Cosmo is a non-profit organization supporting to the curb. intellectually-challenged residents. It has Coun. Charlie Clark says this is the a 30-year history of recycling paper in most complicated issue his has dealt with this city. Cosmo uses the profit from sales during his tenure on council. Really? One of recycled paper to support and expand would think imposing a tax increase of programming for its participants. 7.43 per cent on residents, including those Loraas Recycle is a private company on fixed incomes and the working poor, providing services for garbage removal along with increasing fees and levies, and recycling. It operates the only private would rate as a bigger issue than imposing landfill in the province. the same recycling fee on all city residents. When council first started debating the Some on council simply want to write merits of a curbside recycling program, the Cosmo a cheque from the taxpayers account spokesperson for Loraas clearly stated they and have them go away. Clearly they do not couldn’t provide the service for less than understand that Cosmo exists to provide $8 a month. In fact Loraas trucks adverdignity of work and a social outlet for resitised its recycling program at that price. dents who are intellectually challenged. Had The only competition at that time was a they given the initial contract to Cosmo as small blue box start-up business which was the low bidder, we wouldn’t be having this eventually bought out by Loraas. debate. At the same time Cosmo had a legal Some councillors would have you becontract with the city which is enforceable lieve that there is a possibility of a mill-rate into 2018. Prior to the mandated program, increase if they write Cosmo a “go-awaypaper recycling bins were strategically and-leave-us-alone” cheque. What they located around the city and the contents aren’t saying is that the city has been spendwere delivered to Cosmo by the city at an ing $450,000 annually collecting paper for approximate cost of $450,000. Aside from Cosmo, but saved much of this money on offering valued services to special-needs landfill costs. Add to the equation the fact residents over the last 30 years, Cosmo has the city would save the $450,000 it currently saved the city substantial money by divert- spends, because Cosmo would be responing paper products from the landfill. sible for its own collection. What council Before the single-dwelling collection/ isn’t saying is that under the current agreeprocessing contract was awarded, Loraas ments it has to deliver 7,800 tons of paper to spent millions of dollars expanding and Cosmo. And they may have to purchase any improving its facility. I expect this was in paper shortfall from Loraas or neighbouring anticipation of getting the city contract. jurisdictions in order to comply with these Cosmo at the same time stressed to council contractual obligations. This would be at a that single-bin collection would contamicost unknown to them and us. nate the paper and reminded council of its The argument has been put forth that contractual agreements to provide Cosmo multi-dwelling units get less for their tax 7,800 tons of uncontaminated paper. dollars than single-dwelling homes because The tender was issued. And when the they pay for their own garbage removal. bids were opened Cosmo had the lowest This is an apples-to-oranges discussion. At bid — about $1 million less than the Lopresent, garbage pickup is covered under raas bid. Notwithstanding this fact, council property taxation, whereas recycling is a set, awarded the bid to Loraas, although it did mandated fee currently charged to all singlethrow Cosmo a bone. Cosmo could have dwelling homes, whether you use it or not the multi-dwelling contract. At that time and regardless of volume. If council wants Loraas had contracts with some multito deal with adjusting taxes to multi-dwelldwelling building owners to collect recying units to compensate for unused services, clables and had no issue with the Cosmo it should be considered under the mill-rate compromise and presumably still doesn’t. factor. And then we can debate why any It was reported in The StarPhoenix taxpayer should have to pay for services that some multi-dwelling unit owners they opt not to use. think they should have the right to choose Snow removal is a moot point as the which carrier they should contract with, city does not clear snow from any private

Council created the “Cosmo compromise” when it decided to award the initial recycling contract to a higher bidder and to placate incensed supporters of Cosmo prior to the election. Cosmo is asking for the same amount that Loraas charges the city under its existing contract for single-dwelling home collection. And let’s remember the city keeps $.94 from your monthly recycling fee for its purposes. As a final thought, what will the fees be down the road if council creates a monopoly for recycling services?

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“Supporting Saskatoon’s Business Community”

Answers on page 19



property, be it commercial, single-dwelling homes or multi-dwelling buildings. Is it fair to charge multi-dwelling units the same price as single-dwelling homes for recycling? Why not? Does a couple living in a 1,000-square-foot condo generate the same volume of recyclables as a couple living in a 1,000-square-foot single-dwelling home? Is it fair to charge a person living alone on a fixed income the same amount for recycling as a working family of four or more? When introducing the program council determined everyone pays the same fee regardless of circumstance.


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Saskatoon Express, March 3, 2014