Call to charge by car not bags

Photo by ODT.
Photo by ODT.
Those who like to fill black rubbish bags and take them to the dump one or two at a time might be looking for another option come March, as Dunedin City Council staff recommend charging by the vehicle size rather than by the bag.

Council staff say it was becoming too difficult for booth operators at city landfills to accurately assess the declared number of black bags in a vehicle, and too many people were not declaring how many bags they had or what sort of rubbish was in them.

They are recommending councillors considering upcoming council budgets agree to base the charging on vehicle type, and eliminate the problem.

However, for the customer with a car, that means a trip to the tip to dispose of one black bag will cost $18 from March, and $20 from July, compared with the current cost of $2.10. If the person has a station wagon, it will cost them $32 from March and $35 from July.

''If people want to fill one black rubbish bag, they will just have to buy a council one and leave it on the kerbside for collection,'' solid waste manager Ian Featherston said.

Council staff are proposing charges for use of Dunedin's landfills and transfer stations go up across the board, after a review showed the revenue the Green Island and Waikouaiti landfills and Middlemarch Transfer Station collected was 20% less than what it cost to actually dispose of the rubbish, and Dunedin's charges were 20% less than national average charges.

Increasing the fees by 7% in March and a further 10% in July would cover the cost of disposal for the year, a report from water and waste services manager Dr Laura McElhone to councillors said.

If fees were left as they were it would cost ratepayers an extra $195,000 this year to run the city's landfills.

Mr Featherston said people often arrived at landfills with black bags filled with rubbish for disposal, and the council expected there would be some backlash to the new charging regime.

A marketing campaign was planned for before the changes were implemented.

Aquatic services staff will also seek the approval of councillors to adjust their charges to be more consistent between adult, concession and child rates and product charges.

The proposal is to set concession fees at 60% of the adult rate and child rates at 50% of the adult rate.

The result would be a more robust and easier-to-justify fee structure with slight increases in some charges and reductions in others, a report from aquatic services manager Steve Prescott said.

The changes would potentially see a total increase in revenue of $100,000 for aquatic services for 2013-14.

Councillors will consider these proposals and other fee changes as part of their annual plan deliberations.

Building services manager Neil McLeod said changes to deposit sums for consents for certain building projects reflected more accurately, after review, the likely total cost of the consent, meaning less surprises for people at the other end.

Very odd

Although we pay for rubbish collection in our rates it is quite impractical so I go to Green Island most weekends. $4.20 for two bins or $6.30 for a few black bags I am happy. 18 bucks? Nah. I'll make sure we don't put anything in that will identify us and drop them at the corner of Morris Road and Coalstage Road like a few others do.

As far as I am am aware most cars have windows so the booth operators, both nice guys at GI, can easily tell whether it is a $2.10 load or an $18 load. 18 bucks? Nah, not paying I'm afraid.

Proposed change

This proposed change is ridiculous. They are assuming that landfill users have a choice but we do not all have rubbish services at our properties. To financially discourage small loads would increase rubbish lying around on properties leading to other problems like rats. I am sure the council would rather rural residents did not use their own properties to dump rubbish.

One of the reasons our landfill gets recycling at the tip face is that the recycling bins are frequently full to overflowing and the operator does not empty them often enough. The change last year to mixed wheelie bins made the situation much worse and would also have increased the cost of recycling disposal as it all now gets mixed in together (except glass) then has to get separated later on. It is a nuisance to use and does not give much incentive to users to actually recycle as evidenced by the amount of recyclable matter at the tip face.

If there is an issue with assessing the size of loads then surely more effort should be made to rectify this rather than just increasing the charge to compensate without making any effort to actually fix the problem. Why are the attendants not making more effort to check load sizes, or the council making sure that offenders with excessive amounts are targeted, not the rest of us?

Forget the tip

For $200, paid in advance, you can get a large wheelie bin with a weekly empty for a year. That's less than $4 a week/empty. Cheaper than using the tip or the black DCC bags.

Job opportunity

The proposal to charge by the car, not the bag, is a great move.  It opens up opportunities for many people for a little income boost.  Those with use of a large car will be able to do neighbourhood collections and at the same time take non-bag items to the landfill.  I am pleased to see that the council  is no longer thinking of job creation only in terms of big (rates subsidised) factories employing hundreds of people.

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