Matthews awarded Parrsboro solid waste contract

Andrew Wagstaff
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Town reaches monthly agreement with local collector

PARRSBORO – The days of paying the local garbage collector are over for Parrsboro residents, while the days of adding the service to their tax bill have just begun.

Parrsboro town council awarded the town’s residential solid waste collection contract to local collector Gregg Matthews & Sons during its monthly session on May 28, and will pay $3,466.67 per month for the service, meaning the collector will no longer have to collect payment from individual customers. The new system is expected to take effect July 1.

Final details of the agreement with Matthews, who was one of two bidders on the contract, have yet to be reached, according to CAO Ray Hickey.

“Nothing is completely finalized, but we’re looking at doing something similar to other municipalities,” he said. “We’re one of only two towns left in Nova Scotia that don’t do it, and almost everyone does it in a similar fashion.”

The plan is to bill by dwelling, not by property, so vacant properties would not be billed, Hickey explained. Those with multiple dwellings on a property would be billed for each dwelling, up to a maximum of three units. Any property with more than three dwelling units is considered commercial property, and commercial properties in Parrsboro will continue to arrange for their own solid waste collection.

The cost of the service will not be incorporated into the tax rate, but will rather appear as a separate line on residential tax bills, according to Hickey, who said the revenue will not exceed what is being paid to the collector.

“There’s not going to be extra cash beyond what is necessary to provide the service,” he said. “All initial calculations say it should be less than what people pay now.”

That is, unless you’re a seasonal resident. No matter how much time you spend at your Parrsboro dwelling in the run of a year, you will pay the same amount for garbage collection as those who use the service year-round.

The CAO did, however, leave some wiggle room in that area.

“Everyone with a cottage will have to pay the full amount, unless there’s a precedent we can find where something… it’s not decided in stone,” said Hickey. “As far as I can tell, in every other community I was in contact with, you are charged garbage collection for the full year for each dwelling. How much you use it is up to you.”

The month-to-month contract allows either the town or the contractor to opt out of the agreement at any time. Matthews said he requested this himself.

“I was the one who brought it forward, so it would make it cheaper for everybody in town,” he said. “That way I get paid from everybody in town because there’s a good many I’m not , now… It’s going to be cheaper for every resident and I did the price based on 12 months a year for every house in town.”

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Nova Scotia

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