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Group questions city on garbage privatization costs - InsideToronto

May 10, 2011
David Nickle

The potential savings from contracting out garbage collection aren't as great as a city staff report indicates - unless the city is willing to sacrifice waste diversion from landfill, according to a report from the Toronto Environmental Alliance.The environmental advocacy group released their findings Monday, May 9 in a report titled Look Before You Leap, intending to caution councillors against supporting a plan to contract out garbage collection in a larger part of Toronto.

The proposal, which will be going to Toronto council when it meets next week, would see the city hand over garbage collection duties to outside contractors between the Humber River and Yonge Street, which - in combination with Etobicoke, where contractors already collect city garbage - would mean that slightly more than half the city receives contracted out collection.

The report indicates the city will save $7 million by contracting out, with $1 million a year going toward contract supervision.

But TEA argues that $1 million isn't enough. Studies have indicated that cities that effectively contract out services to the private sector need to spend about 20 per cent of the value of that contract on supervision to make sure the contractors live up to their word.

The contract is estimated to be worth about $250 million over the next decade - meaning that the city ought to spend about $50 million on contract supervision.

"Proper monitoring of contracts should be 20 per cent of the contract value," said Emily Alfred, a waste campaigner with TEA. "The proposal before council is just 4.2 per cent. There's insufficient monitoring going on that will actually safeguard waste diversions."

TEA said they weren't able to get detailed information on contract oversight in Etobicoke, where the city has been overseeing contracted out garbage collection since amalgamation - nor have they been able to obtain information as to how diversion rates compare between existing contracted out collection and city collection.

"We're calling on councillors to reject the information - go back, do their homework on the real costs on monitoring," said Franz Hartmann, TEA executive director. "We are very concerned about a process that essentially excludes city councillors from looking at a contract before it gets signed."

The matter will come before Toronto council at its May 17-18 meetings.

As originally published here:

2011-05-10 Group questions city on garbage privatization costs _Inside Toronto_.pdf15.79 KB