The cost of garden waste bin collections could rise by up to 30 per cent for Horsham district residents.
Horsham District Council introduced a £29 a year fee in 2013 for every household wanting their brown-topped wheelie bin emptied, and this charge has been frozen for each of the last two years.
But from April 1, 2016 this could rise to £35 a year for those paying by direct debit or online, and £37.50 for those paying via the council’s contact centre or by post.
The lower figure represents a rise of more than 20 per cent, while the higher amount is an increase of almost 30 per cent.
The fee for an extra green waste bin collection will rise from £15 to £20 a year.
Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South), HDC’s cabinet member for waste, recycling and cleansing, said: “Even with the proposed increases in place, this service still represents exceptional good value for money.
“I would urge as many residents as possible to adopt the online or direct debit payment methods as this will further reduce our costs, to the benefit of all users.”
However readers took to Facebook and the County Times website to oppose the changes. Some labelled the changes a ‘joke’ and ‘ridiculous’, while one reader suggested that the scheme’s budget should be ringfenced instead of being used to ‘create a surplus for HDC’s general benefit’.
According to a report due to be approved by HDC’s Cabinet on Monday November 23 the changes could generate an extra £210,000 for the council in 2016/17, and this will help reduce its budget deficit.
Introducing charges for the non-statutory service proved controversial, with some readers labelling the registration process an ‘omnishambles’.
Although HDC initially projected that 40 per cent of households would sign up to the scheme, more than 60 per cent were using the service (31,363) in 2015/16, while 2,178 of these had a second bin.
Expected revenue for 2015/16 is £942,150, although this excludes the cost of providing the collection vehicles.
The increased charge would still be the cheapest in West Sussex. Crawley Borough Council charges £49 for a nine-month service, while Chichester District Council’s fee is £48.60 for customers paying by direct debit, the next two cheapest areas.
The officers’ report describes the £6 or £8.50 increase as ‘modest’, and states that although there could be a reduction in the recycling rates, over the last two years tonnage has increased, with Horsham recycling nearly twice the green waste tonnage of all other district and borough council areas across West Sussex.
The report continues: “The cost of delivering the service has increased due to a rise in salaries, pensions and vehicle running costs.
“In addition replacement vehicles will soon be required. It is also necessary that those using the service should pay to cover the cost of provision.”
Currently 84 per cent of all subscriptions are made online or by direct debit, with the processing cost of call centre transactions estimated at £2.83 each, and between £5.95-£6.62 per postal transaction, compared to 15 pence for a web transaction.
If the revised charges are agreed steps will be taken to amend the terms and condition of the scheme, while customers will be contacted informing them of the revised charges for the service and direct debit instructions will be revised and issued.
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