Tuesday September 02, 2014

Snow dump fees set by Council

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Snow removal contractors will now face a fee to off-load snow in the City’s Snow Storage Site.

A fee structure was deemed necessary to help offset costs associated with establishing a new storage site.

“In the very near future, we will begin to utilize the new Snow Storage Site on4th Avenue North (just north of the Public Works yard). The new site will be more environmentally friendly with melt-water collection ditches and a two part settling pond. The site will also utilize a special blend of salt resistant grasses. The anticipated cost to construct the new Snow Storage Site is approximately $700,000,” detailed a report circulated to Council in December when Council gave the bylaw first and second reading.

In addition to establishment costs it was anticipated maintenance cost for this new site to be more than in the past due to the smaller site footprint necessitating occasional cat/dozer work, grass cutting, removal of siltation from the settling ponds, and general cleanup each spring.

“As a result of these expected higher maintenance costs in addition to the capitol cost to build the site, we have researched other cities to try to gain an understanding of possible revenue to offset the future costs. What we have learned is that many cities are implementing some sort of fees in an effort to recover some if not all of the additional costs. It is estimated in some cities that commercial and general public snow haulers account for up to 75 per cent of snow that is hauled into the storage site,” stated the report.

The fees proposed ranged from $100 for a half ton in 2014, rising to $150 in 2015, to $500 for a one ton truck, rising to $700 in 2015, to $1,400 for a tri-axle semi rising to $1,500 in 2015.

Councillor Les Arnelien said Monday that instead of implementing the fee structure March 1, he would rather see it implemented in the fall, giving contractors more time to factor the new fees into contracts.

Mayor Bob Maloney worried contractors will have contracts signed covering this winter and will be forced to absorb any added costs coming from the City.

“I think we have to be fair to people who have agreements in place,” he said, in support of a fall implementation.

Coun. Ross Fisher was not ready to wait, noting contractors have had “almost three-months notice already.”

Coun. Chris Wyatt also wanted the fees implemented now, noting department heads in the City are identifying costs of operation and offering a way to recoup some of those costs and it should be supported by Council.

As for the current snow, Coun. Randy Goulden said even if implemented March 1, “we still have some winter in front of us.”

Arnelien made a motion to rescind second reading of the bylaw to allow for an amendment to hold implementation in the fall. While having the support of Maloney and Councillor Larry Pearen, the motion was defeated in a three-three tie with Councillor James Wilson not in attendance.

Third reading of the bylaw was then passed, with Maloney and Arnelien opposed.

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