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No decision yet on garden waste cost
11:00am Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
THE cost of the garden waste collection service in the Vale is set to rise but a decision as to how much it will go up by has been questioned by a council committee.
At a meeting on Tuesday, members of Wychavon’s overview and scrutiny committee voted to ‘call in’ the decision and refer it back to the council’s executive board for re-consideration.
The executive board will now discuss the matter again to decide how much the increase for the service should be.
Originally it was proposed to go up from £41 to £42, but some members said this wasn’t enough and wanted it increased to £45 – an increase of almost 10 per cent.
Councillors were told the price needs to be increased to allow the service to grow but Phil Merrick, head of community services, proposed the £1 increase in line with inflation to ensure existing customers didn’t stop using the collections.
Coun Andrew Dyke, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, was one of the three councillors who requested to review the proposals.
He said: “It seemed to me from comments at the executive board meeting and the general mood was a raise to £45 was more sensible and desirable than £42.”
The service, which has a surplus of about £63,000 used to cover other council services, would be expected to make an initial loss as it expanded, but would break even when or if a further 2,568 households joined the scheme.
Coun Frances Smith said: “We are supposed to be finding savings and make a little bit of money.“ Speaking against the call in, Coun Liz Tucker said she felt it was a “misuse” of the scrutiny committee.
There are currently 10,050 households in the district using the service but in order to increase the number of collections and provide the 1,080 people on the waiting list with garden waste collection, the cost must increase.
At its meeting last month the executive board agreed to increase the number of collections to three days a week from May 2013.
Coun Emma Stokes, who proposed the £1 increase, said: “The ethos of Wychavon is to grow our services and I think a 2.5 per cent inflationary increase is fine.”