County losing out in tipping fee revenues

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Only collected $200 on budget of $40,000

Cumberland County is missing out in tipping fees for construction and demolition debris.

District 10 councillor Don Fletcher

UPPER NAPPAN – Cumberland County’s finances are in good shape, even if no money has been collected for construction waste at several transfer stations.

Speaking to county council’s first December session on Wednesday, finance director Andrew MacDonald said the county has only collected about $200 on a budget of $66,000 from own source revenues. Most of that, more than $40,000, is supposed to come from tipping fees for construction and demolition debris at its transfer stations.

“The transfer stations are not collecting the tipping fee on C&D waste because they have no means of collecting,” MacDonald told council. “We tried remote debit machines, but there’s no wireless coverage in those areas and we don’t want transfer station staff handling cash for security reasons.”

MacDonald said the transfer stations in River Hebert and Advocate Harbour are not overly busy, while the one in Pugwash is quite busy. He also pointed out that county residents disposing of C&D waste at the central landfill in Little Forks are paying the tipping fee.

In fact, he added, since implementing the fee for C&D waste a year-and-a-half ago it hasn’t collected any money from the transfer stations.

County CAO Rennie Bugley said a detailed plan of action is required, adding there are two systems in place – one for the transfer stations and one for the landfill. He said he will discuss the manner with planning director Steve Ferguson and Peter Cottingham to come up with some options that can be implemented for February.

Several councillors expressed concern with charging the fee, suggesting people will dispose of their C&D waste in the woods instead of at the transfer stations. Both Don Fletcher and Lynne Welton suggested maintaining the status quo, but John Kellegrew and Warden Keith Hunter said that would be unfair to residents in District 1, 2 and 3 who have to pay to take their C&D debris to the landfill.

Fletcher said if the county starts charging for disposal, it needs to give people lots of notice so its not sprung on them.

Deputy Warden Don Smith suggested implementing a system in which someone who drops off C&D waste would be invoiced and billed by the municipality.

Besides the variance in tipping fees, MacDonald told council the county has lost about $98,000 in taxes through appeal. On the flip side, he said some budget items aren’t likely to move forward this year, including a new regional enterprise network, while only a portion of the $187,000 budgeted for the energy office has been used.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Geographic location: Cumberland County, River Hebert, Advocate Harbour Pugwash Little Forks

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