Saskatoon Metropolis Corridor inching nearer to organics program rollout

SASKATOON —
With the proposed delivery of a citywide curbside organics program slated for Spring 2023, council will be looking at a report from the city’s administration recommending the City undertake the collection of the organics program.

In a report heading to the city’s governance and priorities meeting which includes all members of city council, the City said in its report the necessary equipment for organics collection already exist in-house.

“The research conducted showed that the City could be extremely cost-competitive with the private sector, if not the least cost due to economies of scale with the black bin program. However, as with all similar scenarios, this cannot be determined unless the work were actually tendered,” the city report explains.

Currently Saskatoon runs a subscription-based green cart program with about 12,000 subscribers, according to the City. The program offers bi-weekly curbside pickups from May to early November.

The new organics program the City wants to introduce consists of weekly year-round collections. According to the report, if city council opts to contract out collections and processing, it recommends sending out a Request for Proposals. City council also has the option of keeping organics collection in-house.

Currently, collections programs including black bin, green bin and blue bin are provided

primarily in-house, about 60 per cent with the remainder provided by a third-party. More specifically, summer weekly and winter bi-weekly black bin collection is provided in-house, as is the subscription seasonal organics program, while the year-round blue-bin collection program is provided by a third-party.

The cost for third-party collection ranges, according to the City, between $2.7 million and $3.3 million based on research conducted with other municipalities. With the total cost of processing material now known, the city’s total cost estimate to deliver the program in 2023 is $7.31 million per year or $8.13 per household. This estimate is based on 75,000 homes.

The City’s report also notes if collection or organics is kept in-house, the city could extend nine seasonal employees to fulltime, whereas contracting collections to a third-party would in essence eliminate those nine seasonal positions.

Tendering out collection and processing would also create a situation where three different services providers managing a coordinating the program, which could lead to disruptions, the city said.

The roll out of the organics program is already impacting tax increase. In its June report on tax increases for 2022 and 2023, the city’s administration is proposing a 5.96 and 5.42 per cent tax increases, which includes money to fund the citywide curbside organics program and its Bus Rapid Transit program. (https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/proposed-saskatoon-property-tax-increase-would-help-pay-for-bus-rapid-transit-curbside-organics-programs-report-1.5475259)

The report will be before city councillors and the mayor on Monday.

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