Town of Creston garbage truck. (Lorne Eckersley)

Town of Creston implementing changes to fees for solid waste collection

The Town of Creston will be making changes to how the fees are collected for the solid waste pick-up and disposal services by moving the fees to utility billing, thereby reducing the property tax requisition.

Currently, the solid waste pick-up and disposal service provided by the town for all residences and commercial businesses in the Town of Creston is funded through general municipal property taxes. Town council has approved administration to move forward with implementing the changeover on the next annual utility billing cycle, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

“Moving the fee requisition for garbage collection from property taxation to utilities is something that has been discussed at the council table since 2017,” said Mayor Ron Toyota. “There are a number of benefits to changing the model to a user-pay system but perhaps the most significant one is that only those receiving the service will be paying for it.”

The estimated cost per unit is $90 annually per dwelling unit. As with the current utility billing practice, secondary suites will pay 50 per cent of the dwelling cost. The estimated solid waste pick-up and disposal charge will be amongst the lowest in the Kootenays.

Commercial businesses, trailer courts, strata complexes and apartment complexes with five or more units may have the option to opt-out of the town’s garbage collection service provided that appropriate private collection services are in place. Letters will be sent via direct mail to those parties who have the option to partake in the service. The letter will contain details around what steps are needed to proceed with either option. A waiver will be enclosed that will need to be returned to town hall by Nov. 15, 2019.

“Staff has done extensive research and we are confident that this shift will be beneficial to the Town of Creston,” said Steffan Klassen, director of finance and corporate services. “Out of all of the Kootenay municipalities, Creston is the only one that funds garbage collection from property taxes. We also know through conversations with the regional district that curbside recycling and organic waste pick-up is on the horizon for the Town of Creston. Altering the model will assist with facilitating future utility changes.”

An information mailout will be sent to all households and businesses in the Town of Creston in the next couple of weeks, with two public information meetings scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17 at town hall, council chambers from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

“We recognize that this is a change that affects a lot of our citizens,” Klassen said. “We encourage you to call us or come out to one of our information sessions if you have questions about how this shift will impact your household or business in the Town of Creston. Also, if you believe that you should have received a waiver and have not by Oct. 25, please contact the town directly.”

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