Kincardine council eyes bag tag increase


By Barb McKay

The price of bag tags will likely increase this year.

During a budget meeting last Monday, the Municipality of Kincardine council took a straw vote to increase the price of bag tags from $2 to $2.50 each in an effort to make waste removal more of a user pay service. Last year, the municipality was left with an operating deficit of $180,000 for garbage collection and $680,000 for the waste management facility. The bag tag rate increase would add as much as $70,000 in non-tax revenue for the municipality in 2017 and reduce the municipal tax rate increase by nearly half a per cent.

Councillor Maureen Couture said in the late 1990s in the former Town of Kincardine bag tags cost $2.50 each.

“You have to pay for waste. The costs to operate the landfill are astronomical.”

Councillor Randy Roppel said the price increase would hurt people on fixed incomes who are already faced with rising energy costs but wouldn’t make any significant impact on the tax rate. Councillor Andrew White said he had no problem increasing the bag tags to $3 each if it would further reduce the tax rate increase.

Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Faubert said she has spoken to seniors on fixed incomes who say they would rather pay more for bag tags than pay for waste through the tax rate because they might only produce one bag of waste every couple of weeks.

Councillor Laura Haight said the municipality needs to strike a balance between user fees and taxes.

“I don’t know if I have the stomach to go to $2.50, but I may be able to be convinced later in the (budget) process.”

“I guess I’ll be the bad guy and go for the $2.50,” said Councillor Gord Campbell. “I think it should be user pay.”

In a straw vote, the majority of council voted in favour of increasing the price for bag tags. An official vote will be taken when the 2017 municipal budget is passed.

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