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Report claims private trash collection won’t save as much money as city suggests - CityNews

May 9th, 2011
Shawne McKeown

In a report released Monday, the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) claims the decision to contract out garbage collection west of Yonge Street won’t save taxpayers as much money as officials at City Hall suggest.

Toronto has one of the highest waste-diversion rates in the country and TEA claims the complexities of trash collection and recycling pickup could end up costing Torontonians more than they’ve been led to believe if the service is privatized -- mostly in monitoring costs and contract tie-ups.

Mayor Rob Ford wants to privatize trash collection between Yonge Street and Etobicoke -- a move public works officials claim will save the city about $6 million a year. Council will debate the issue May 17 and 18th.

TEA’s report, entitled “Look Before You Leap”(.pdf), suggests the price of monitoring waste collection to ensure diversion targets are met and services are being performed as were agreed upon should amount to approximately 20 per cent of the total cost of the contract. The city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee approved a $1 million budget for monitoring, or 4.2 per cent of the total contract as was recommended by the general manager of solid waste management, Geoff Rathbone.

Rathbone recently announced he’s accepted a position in the private sector as vice president of Progressive Waste Solutions.

TEA believes the estimated savings from contracting out garbage collection would be about $2 million.

The group also claims that a private contract could carry financial penalties should the city decide to change or add new services to its pickup program.

“ … details are written into contracts such as waste types, expected tonnage, services offered, and materials to pick up. To guarantee certainty, so-called ‘put or pay’ provisions are common in contracts -- guaranteeing a set tonnage of waste or recyclables to the collector,” the report says.

“If the tonnage isn’t met, the municipality pays a financial penalty.”

As originally published here: http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/129840--report-claims-private-trash-collection-won-t-save-as-much-money-as-city-suggests

2011-05-09 Report claims private trash collection wont save as much money as city suggests _CityNews_.pdf90.97 KB