South Frontenac’s Garbage Proposal Would Increase Inequality

A proposal coming to South Frontenac Council on November 17 would make families buy all their bag tags.  Currently South Frontenac gives families 50 tags a year at no cost to the property owner.  

The new garbage proposal will disproportionately affect those who produce larger amounts of household garbage with few options for reduction, for example: families with young children and families with at-home medical needs (incontinence, wound care, ostomies).  The waste from these families is not optional and they tend to be families with more economic challenges.  Young families have increased over all expenses and the income earners are often starting their working years. Families with illness often have reduced incomes and higher expenses.

Council’s goal has been to keep municipal tax increases to 2%.  Charging a fee for an essential service is really a tax increase above 2%. If Council wishes to do this it should be done directly.

A significant part of the motivation for this user fee is the increased cost of garbage collection: a reality Council needs to deal with directly though general taxation or policy changes.  We should not be imposing an extra tax that will likely increase inequality and negatively affect many families.

Our society has a very serious waste problem. It is a structural problem. Our recycling system is broken: much of what we “recycle” ends up in landfills. Companies are permitted to produce items using wasteful practices; we need a right-to-repair law, limits on packaging and single use items. And, we need an increase in our organic waste composting services.

Doing what we can to reduce waste is important, but not at the expense of increased inequality: a growing and serious problem.  

About Ross Sutherland

nurse, researcher, public health care activist, councillor South Frontenac Township
This entry was posted in South Frontenac Township and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to South Frontenac’s Garbage Proposal Would Increase Inequality

  1. Stephen Bach says:

    Hi Ross, I don’t know how you should deal with tags. Most people feel that our property taxes are high enough. We use about 12 or 13 tags a year. We compost our organics however we have a safe place to put the composter away from wildlife. Our children take meat and bones to the big city. We need to stop being a throwaway society. Repairing broken items is a challenge. Finding someone to do the repair for a reasonable price is difficult, hence it becomes cheaper to replace it. Plastic is big problem. How do we change companies that have being making things out of plastic for years. The companies use plastic because it is cheaper and lighter as is the case in cars. I don’t blame the companies. The public want to buy things for the same money that they paid 10 or 20 years ago. The world has to change now or we will be sinking in our own waste.
    Governments must order companies to stop the over packaging of products. Stop grocery stores throwing out food and make them donate it to the poor.
    I could go on but you get the idea.
    Steve

  2. wesrdavidson says:

    A sneaky way to increase revenue while affecting residents in a negative way. If a tax increase is required do it.
    This proposal will affect vulnerable members of the community. These people are generally financially disadvantaged and adding the extra expense will be felt by them the most.
    Drive down Wilmer Road and there are homes with garbage piled in the yard. I believe this would become even worse if they had to purchase bag tags. This isn’t unique to this road.
    I also think this will lead to more illegal dumping..
    Having moved from Amherstview last year I can attest to seeing illegal dumping. Generally every weekend large items were dumped on Taylor Kidd Blvd for commuters to see the following week. Having the township pay to remove this garbage would probably be more costly than free garbage tags.

  3. Melinda says:

    I feel there should be no increase. The people of South frontenac and surrounding are are struggling to live and prove the best there can with covid 19.. Many already have lost there homes etc. This has already been a devastating year for many.. I feel that and increases to garbage or our tax would be uncalled for by our township.. please take into consideration the state the world is in right now.. I realize that every cost money and some increases are necessary. Even if Taxes, Garbage taxes need to be increased I am sure that they is other ways or it can be done at a later or even not at all to residents and people of our township a fighting chance to live and cope with the what they face everyday with Covid-19.. Give them the peace of mind.. please the holidays are also fast approaching as well..

  4. William Keeley says:

    First of all, we don’t receive any “FREE” garbage tags. This past year the property tax assessment form was changed to remove the sanitation portion of tax description, and it was rolled into one of the other columns. I checked our 2018 tax form and it was still there, our taxes increased from 2018 to 2019, and again this year. The garbage tags we all receive in March with our newsletter and tax form are paid for, by us, the homeowners and residents of South Frontenac Township. The fact that this man is outright lying to us is infuriating. This is just a money grab, plain and simple. Second of all, this is going to backfire spectacularly. It has already been said, but I wholeheartedly agree, this will increase illegal dumping, and garbage being burned. Don’t think we didn’t notice the other crucial change being put forth, an open air burning ban without a permit. Not only did this get planned over a year ago, the council had the foresight to roll in a plan to prevent people from burning the garbage that they won’t be able to afford to have picked up at the curb anymore. If this goes through, I hope everyone continues to put out their garbage anyway, and not a single address uses any tags. It won’t take long before they are forced to pick it up regardless. Perhaps we should start dropping our bags off at the township address in Sydenham. Or if anyone knows where the council members live, share that and we can leave some at their homes as well.

    • Hi William, I don’t support the proposal to have residents buy all their garbage tags, which is why I tried to inform the public before it was voted on at Council. Your comments are welcome, but contacting the Mayor and Councils about your concerns rather illegally dumping garbage would probably more helpful to making our community work better. Thanks again,Ross.

      • William Keeley says:

        Mr. Sutherland, I think you may have misunderstood what I said, I will not be illegally dumping garbage. Not before, and not now. I said this proposal will increase what is already happening. By others. I also understand that you don’t support this proposal. However your statement that we are given free tags, with no cost to the homeowners is blatantly untrue. We pay for those 50 tags a year in our taxes. Like we always have. Why you don’t know this fact is concerning to me. Either you are ignorant about the issue, or are hiding it purposely. My concerns will be shared with the general public, and the mayor alike. The tags aren’t now, or ever have been free. If you want to help by informing the public, start with yourself next time.

      • Hi William, The bag tags are not free, they are paid for by general tax revenue. They are given to people at no cost, which is what I said. Please read my comments and report accurately. Sorry for any misunderstanding. Keep in touch,Ross.

      • Glen Squires says:

        Mr. Sutherland,
        You stated, and I quote: ‘The bag tags are not free, they are paid for by general tax revenue. They are given to people at no cost, which is what I said. Please read my comments and report accurately. Sorry for any misunderstanding. Keep in touch,Ross.’

        Your comments are contradictory. If they are given to the public at no cost then they are free. But they are NOT free!
        If they are paid for by general tax revenue then are they not paid for by the people?

      • It was probably a bad choice of words. The intent was to reflect the difference between a fully user pay system and one that is partially funded by general tax revenue. This is an important difference in how the Township views the service and how it affects people.

      • Don Lawrence says:

        I truly believe it will cost more once tags are eliminated and have to be purchased, one for the inconvenience and the other is a lot of people cannot afford the extra cost. This will lead to garbage being thrown into ditches for the township to eventually pick up, as I am sure there will be a lot of residents calling especially in the summer months due to the stench. I believe there are other ways to reduce costs, I do not believe this is one of them, there is an increase to taxes yearly and with the higher prices of homes the tax revenue is higher than ever before.

        On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 2:21 PM Ross Sutherland, Councillor, South Frontenac wrote:

        > Ross Sutherland commented: “It was probably a bad choice of words. The > intent was to reflect the difference between a fully user pay system and > one that is partially funded by general tax revenue. This is an important > difference in how the Township views the service and how it affe” >

  5. Ron Hipfner says:

    Ending the free bag tags is indeed a regressive move. If the township actually wishes to cap the tax increase it is trivial – reduce the budget of Public Works. Note the $800k being spent to straighten Hinchenbrooke Road. Who needs more speeding?
    Do we really need heavy equipment destroying roadside vegetation, which then necessitates more road repair?
    Public Works should be spending on efforts to divert waste and composting. How about a re-use centre? How about segregating all the wood that gets delivered to the landfill and making it available for people to use to in their woodstoves? What about capturing the methane produced at the landfills.
    No imagination and no willingness to consider new ideas.

  6. Diana Sansom says:

    We moved into this area 4 years ago. We were used to paying for our garbage tags there. When we moved here we were not happy about the 50 tags they gave us and told us the cost of these tags were added to our taxes. So if they stop passing, NOT GIVING, out these tags our taxes should be going down. Let’s see if that will happen? I will bet not!

  7. Benjamin Applebaum says:

    An unintended consequence of ending “free” tags means even more untagged garbage will be dumped in the communal bins on lanes in rural areas.
    Benjamin Applebaum

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