Home owners in Okotoks need to get ready for higher utility bills from the Town next year.
Recycling fees will apply to the new mandatory pick up of organic waste and other recycling beginning Fall 2016.
With fees for waste collection at the town’s landfill operation, the cost will go up by $1 per household beginning this January.
Not everyone will see such a small increase in their waste collection bill. Those residents of Okotoks who are not registered for the Town’s recycling pick up program may actually see fees double.
Beginning in January, homes already on the roster for curbside recycling pick up will be $20.50 each month for recycling as well as garbage collection. Those households who not subscribed to this program will have to shell out $13.25 a month for just the garbage pickup.
When the collection of recycling in Okotoks becomes mandatory next fall, everyone will receive a monthly fill for $25. This figure is still an estimate as the Town of Okotoks is unclear as to what the rates will be 10 months from now. However, it is certain to be higher than what’s being billed now. The town will put the contract for the collection of organic waste out to tender six months from now.
As the plan is currently construed, each household in Okotoks will get a blue cart and a green cart for recycling. Blue is for the usual recyclables and green is for organic waste. Residents will receive information as to what is acceptable in each receptacle.
The town of Okotoks plans on spending almost $400,000 to buy the green bins.
In just over a year, garbage pickup in the town will become “pay as you throw”. The less garbage you throw out, the less you pay for collection. This will be monitored and enforced with the use of a radio frequency tag that will record how often a black pin is “tipped”, or emptied.
The Town of Okotoks will test this system before implemented in 2017.
If the system works, and black bins are only emptied when necessary, home owners may see refunds every quarter on their utility bill.
The public will be consulted as to the town’s new recycling initiatives throughout 2016.
Public concerns will be weighed heavily before more drastic fees come into play.
Town council wants to understand the needs of residents more fully, particularly as many households and owners of single-family homes have not subscribed to curbside service available to residents by the Town. More study into whether this is individual preference or a choice made for financial reasons.
As an environmental leader in Foothills County, Okotoks is also looking into expanding commercial and municipal waste. Currently, the Rotary Performing Arts Centre as well as the Okotoks Art Gallery and the town’s municipal facility all have recycling bins.
A challenge for the town is recycling at the Okotoks Recreation Centre, a public facility on the town’s east side.
A recent analysis of garbage from the centre revealed that a large amount of the waste generated was from coffee cups which were still filled with liquid. If these cups alone were thrown into recycling, there would be no issue. However, the liquid would contaminate the other materials in the recycling bin. This issue remains a challenge.