uleomh · 2021-10-11

$2 bag tag fee appears likely

Meaford residents can expect to be paying $2 per bag of garbage beginning in May.

Meaford council at a budget meeting held last Thursday evening appeared to be leaning towards supporting the implementation of a $2 per bag fee.

As part of a new list of potential budget cuts and new revenues presented at the meeting municipal staff suggested the municipality adopt a garbage bag tag fee of $2 per bag.

Staff estimated that if the new fee is implemented beginning in May it will raise approximately $370,000 in new revenue for the rest of 2009 and more than $500,000 over the course of an entire year.

The issue will still require debate and formal approval from council, but at Thursday’s meeting several councillors indicated they would support such a new fee.

Deputy Mayor Mike Traynor said he preferred a bag tag fee to some of the proposed budget cuts that would eliminate downtown flower planting, gravel maintenance on rural roads and the reduction of core services like the library, sidewalk plowing, dust suppression and fire department rescue services.

"Some of this stuff is just demoralizing. Charging $2 a bag – I don’t think that hurts as much as some of these other things," said Traynor.

Councillor Harley Greenfield said Meaford has to face the reality in waste disposal. He noted that bag tags are common in other areas.

"I think the time has come for bag tags. It’s not a statement I like to make," he said.

Councillors Gerald Shortt and Jim McPherson said bag tags are a tax increase with a fancy name.

"It’s still a tax increase. It’s still being collected from our ratepayers," said Shortt.

McPherson said he was worried residents would resort to compressing their trash more leading to fewer bags, but a higher volume of garbage being thrown out.

"This is a tax grab," said McPherson.

Council did not make a decision about bag tags at Thursday’s meeting. Council did set a budget target of an overall 5% tax increase (11% on the local municipal portion of the tax bill) for the 2009 budget. At council’s next budget meeting to be held on March 30 municipal staff will present a budget at the 5% target. If staff presents council with a budget that includes bag tags, council will have to debate and approve or turn down that option at the meeting.