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South Okanagan landfill copes with mounting debt

Reduced hours of operation and increased tipping fees are among the options being considered as the local landfill’s operator tries to bury a mounting financial deficit.

Total revenue from the Campbell Mountain landfill is expected to come in $400,000 under its budget projection of $2.8 million this year, a gap expected to grow to $700,000 next year if no action is taken.

The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, which operates the landfill, was last week told it should consider raising tipping fees and reducing hours of operation to better balance revenues and expenses. On Thursday afternoon, the board was expected to consider some hard numbers at its first budget session of the year.

Increasing tipping fees from $65 a tonne to $80 a tonne would raise an additional $368,000 annually, according to an analysis prepared by finance director Warren Everton. The $80 level is the break-even cost suggested by a report prepared last year that examined the site’s life expectancy. Everton also estimated that closing the site on Sundays year-round, rather than from December to February only, could save the RDOS an additional $110,000 annually.

When public works manager Doug French last week pitched that idea to an RDOS board committee, he noted reduced hours would likely lead to longer lineups at the scale house and could have other ramifications, such as an increased volume of waste being left out for residential curbside pickup.

The budget analysis contained several other accounting measures that would net an additional $170,000 a year and trim the landfill’s projected operating deficit to $52,000, which could be covered by a “small taxation component.”

According to French’s report last week, the landfill’s finances have taken a beating as the amount of revenue-generating waste entering the site has decreased and the amount of recyclable material, most of which can’t be sold for profit, has increased.

 

In 2011, the site received 25,000 tonnes of waste material, down from 47,000 tonnes in 2003, the report explained. Meanwhile, the weight of recyclable material collected at the landfill increased from 4,900 tonnes in 2003 to 8,600 tonnes in 2011.

 

 

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