Charges for brown bin collections could move a step closer next week as Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet discusses the proposals.
The local authority has drawn up plans to introduce a £36 charge for each garden waste bin collected from January 1, 2018.
Cllr Iain Eadie, Cabinet member for waste management at the council, had previously revealed how a funding gap meant their was “no choice but to consider making difficult decisions across the board”.
He added that factors in other areas had forced the new charges to be brought to the table.
Now a new report by Cllr Eadie to the meeting of the council’s Cabinet on April 4 says: “Against the backdrop of reduced funding to local government, the changing demographic landscape has seen an increase in the demand for adult social care.
“Local authorities, such as Staffordshire County Council who are responsible for meeting the adult social care needs of Lichfield district’s residents, have acute funding problems as a consequence and are looking to reduce spending wherever possible, so as to try and meet the rising cost of providing this care.
“Staffordshire County Council was intending to make £1.5million of savings in relation to waste by reducing the amount of recycling credit it pays to district councils for diverting waste from landfill.
“The credit helps meet the cost of collecting and disposing of waste and its reduction would have impacted directly upon the joint waste service operated as a partnership between Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council.
“While the county council has removed the planned waste saving from its current medium term financial strategy, this is anticipated to only be temporary and when it is reintroduced it will compound the problem of falling financial settlements from central to local government.”
Cllr Eadie’s report adds that a budget shortfall of around £2.3million until 2020/21 meant Lichfield District Council could not risk adding to the problem by gambling on recycling credits not being reduced.
“The funding gap indicates that as it stands, it [Lichfield District Council] cannot afford to pay for all its intended services over the next three years,” the report explains.
“Any reduction in recycling credits from Staffordshire County Council in relation to waste would exacerbate this funding shortfall, as will any negative impact from the upcoming review of how business rates are shared between the different levels of Government and the need to find additional means of funding social care.”
The new proposals would see those paying for the service online charged £36 a year while those using other methods would pay an additional £4. Those who have paid will have a sticker put on their bin showing they have subscribed, while also having their details added to an online register.
At present, only those with an additional brown bin are charged a fee of £40, which was paid by 1,174 households this year.
Cllr Eadie’s report outlines an anticipated take-up of the new subscription by around 45% of homes.
But it also admits that initial take-up of the service could be low – and insists it will not impact on jobs.
“With a proposed start date of January 1, it is anticipated that subscriptions may be lower, with additional subscriptions happening once the grass starts to grow,” Cllr Eadie adds.
“The variations in the number of customers will have to be managed very carefully so as to ensure the appropriate level of resource is allocated. On one hand we want to make sure there are enough men and trucks deployed in order to complete collections, but on the other hand we don’t want to over-resource the service.
“Redundancies are not anticipated as a result of this decision as any staff not needed to collect garden waste could be used to cover holidays and sickness, thus reducing reliance on agency staff.”