District council leaders look set to push up annual charges for collection of garden waste bins from North Kesteven households by 16 per cent to avoid making a loss.
NKDC’s executive board will meet today (Thursday) to approve recommendations to raise the collection charge for the brown bins from £30 a year to £35.
Additionally, the price of initially buying the bin would increase from £12 to £17 with the purchase and collection fees of an extra bin rising by £5 too. The charges would be reviewed in two years’ time.
The charge was last increased by £5 in 2015. Since then, charges have been reviewed annually but no changes have been recommended until now.
In their report officials say their number of subscribers has grown but so have costs.
Coun Richard Wright told The Standard: “As a discretionary service which residents choose to subscribe to or not, it is essential that the garden waste collection service covers its own costs without the need for subsidy from general taxation.
“Reviewed periodically to ensure the charge is set at the right level to achieve full cost-recovery, projections on income and expenditure have to be made over a five-year period.
“The proposed charge has been carefully calculated to take an aggregated, longer-term view of anticipated customer take-up and increased operating costs – fuel, tyres, vehicle maintenance, staffing costs, etc.”
He said that recent cost increases have made it impossible to break even at their current charge.
“At this rate, the service would run at a loss of more than £100,000 in the coming year,” he said, “which could not be sustained and would have to be subsidised from elsewhere within the council’s broader budget.”
Coun Wright said it was standard practice to regularly assess levels of service take-up and cost-recovery, pointing out that, at £35 the North Kesteven service would remain the most cost-effective of all Lincolnshire districts. County collection charges range from £35 in South Kesteven to £49 in South Holland.