District councillors are being advised to increase the annual subscription charge for emptying garden waste bins in North Kesteven by 20 per cent to £30 a year.
An NKDC spokesman told The Standard the Executive Board will consider a suggested increase in the charge tomorrow (Thursday) and make a recommendation to the Full Council meeting on December 17.
He said: “The suggested £5 increase on the annual charge is the preferred choice of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel’s 10 members to ensure the viability of a much-valued and well-managed, popular service.
“The current charging level requires every household to contribute a limited amount to the full costs of the service, regardless of whether they use it or not. By adjusting the charge, the intention is to achieve a balanced budget.”
The proposed price hike comes after a task and finish group of council members reviewed the cost and viability of the green waste service.
While well-managed, councillors and officers noted that the price currently charged (£25) is insufficient to fully cover the cost of the service and they felt the charge should increase to cover that cost.
This year (2014/15) there has been a shortfall of nearly £300,000, estimated to drop to £115,000 for the coming year but making a total loss of £761,000 since charges began.
They saw difficulties in setting a new price as increased take-up could lead to increased costs and reduced efficiency in having to allocate further resources.
A majority vote by the working group recommended a £5 increase on the annual charge, but this may be staggered over two years.
Charges would be reviewed annually.
Mark Taylor, NKDC’s head of environment and public protection, in his report to the Executive Board says: “Several of the Lincolnshire councils are considering the introduction of a charge or increasing their charge for the forthcoming year.
“Most councils in the East Midlands region charge between £25 and £30 per bin at present. The highest charge is at East Northamptonshire District Council - £51.50 per bin.”
Currently the service has 31,000 subscribers (out of a possible 49,233 households). Charging for the garden waste service was introduced in 2013.