The County of Simcoe will be paying roughly double for special curbside collections under a new contract to start this year, due to shifts in the labour market and a lack of offers to perform the service.
On March 30, the existing contract with Miller Waste for the county’s collections of leaf and yard waste, Christmas trees, textiles, and electronics collections expired. According to a staff report provided to County of Simcoe councillors at their April 12 committee of the whole meeting, a request for proposals (RFP) was posted but only received one proposal back, which was over budget.
“As such, the county cancelled the RFP and pursued direct negotiations with potential vendors,” noted John Williams, contracts and collections supervisor with the county in his report to councillors.
In the 2022 County of Simcoe budget, $2.87 million had been set aside for the four collection services. In 2021, the county paid $1.41 million to Miller Waste for the services.
Under the new contract, the county will now be paying Miller Waste $2.7 million for the same services. This translates to roughly $18 per serviced unit. The new contract will be in place for two years.
The reasons for the cost jump outlined in the report include labour difficulties, increased operational costs, costs in the supply chain associated with COVID-19 and variability of the programs.
“Of particular importance, and why many vendors stated they did not respond to the RFP, is the difficulty in obtaining and maintaining labour due to both the physical and seasonal nature of the work,” wrote Williams. “This is consistent with waste-collection industry trends.”
“It is important to acknowledge the continued pressure facing waste collection, as an industry, surrounding capital costs and labour concerns, specifically manual collections,” he wrote.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, councillors received a report on 2021 Solid Waste Data.
In late 2021, provincial data from 2020 showed the county placed second out of 98 municipalities in regards to waste diversion, with a 64 per cent diversion rate, which is the county's highest since recordings began in 2006.
However, two of the curbside composition audits completed in 2021 indicated that 57 per cent of the material in garbage collected county-wide could have been diverted from disposal through existing diversion programs – primarily organics.
“There is still much work to be done, and we will continue to provide education on our diversion programs and promote the importance of separating materials," said Rob McCullough, director of solid waste management, in a news release.
At Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting, councillors voted in favour of receiving both updates.