Essex County to study taking responsibility for waste collection

·2 min read
Essex County municipalities want to look into whether they can achieve savings by making waste collection a responsibility of the county. (Pramot/Shutterstock - image credit)
Essex County municipalities want to look into whether they can achieve savings by making waste collection a responsibility of the county. (Pramot/Shutterstock - image credit)

Officials in Essex County will be looking into whether it makes sense for the county to take on responsibility for waste management from the lower-tier municipalities.

County council passed two motions on Wednesday night that instructed administration to study the idea.

Both motions were put forward by Essex Mayor Richard Meloche.

The first motion asked municipal staff to work with the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) and prepare a report on potential cost savings from transferring the jurisdiction of garbage collection to the county and ultimately to EWSWA.

Right now, the county's municipalities have individual garbage contracts that expire in different years.

The second motion directed staff to consult with and seek the approval of each of the lower-tier municipalities on transferring responsibility for waste to the county, and look at what it would mean for the municipalities if the cost for waste and organics collection fell under county levies.

Right now, waste management fees operate under a user-pay system. They fall under a separate item on tax bills, rather than being covered through their municipal tax or county tax levies.

Once the study is complete, which an official said would likely be at the start of the next term since there is an election in October, the matter would go back to council once again.

Council's actions come ahead of a deadline for Ontario municipalities to divert food scraps from the landfill.

Both the city of Windsor and the county have passed motions giving the EWSWA the green light to move ahead with establishing a regional plan for organics collection.

The warden of Essex County put the price tag for the program in the ballpark of $300 million, with annual costs of $6 to $8 million on top of that.

By 2025, larger municipalities like Windsor are required to divert 70 per cent of their organic waste and offer curbside collection. Smaller communities have lower targets, and some, like Kingsville and Essex, would be exempt.

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