City Hall bumps proposed garbage collection fee to $200
January 12, 2020
Garbage woesBy Lakhram BhagiratJust one day after disclosing that the Municipality of Georgetown would begin charging residents $100 for garbage collection, Town Clerk Royston King told a news conference, on Friday, that the fee would now be bumped to $200 from February 1.“Going forward, there are new proposals with respect to solid waste management, including the fact that we are looking and asking all residents within the city to pay a small fee to help us collect domestic waste. The proposal is residents will be asked to pay $100 per barrel to remove garbage from their premises and to dispose of it at our landfill site,” King told Guyana Times during an exclusive interview on Thursday.Town Clerk Royston KingHowever, on Friday, he said City Hall is now leaning towards the $200 fee and would be finalising the proposals before its implementation next month.“It is the principle that we believe that the residents should make a contribution to the collection… We are determining the modalities and they would have to pay at City Hall. We have systems in place to track all our movements at the moment and we would put systems in place to ensure that everyone complies with this,” the Town Clerk informed.Expressing hope that persons living in the city would be receptive to this new initiative, the Town Clerk declared he was looking forward to their cooperation. In addition, King asserted that the City Council is looking at ways in which to allow villages that do not presently receive such public health care facilities, such as Sophia, Greater Georgetown, to experience same.“We’re also looking at other areas that are not currently receiving such public health services; like, for example, in the area of Sophia. We’re looking at Sophia, and we’re working out an arrangement to also provide public health services in that community, including the collection and disposal of their waste,” he had said.Managing its own wasteCentral Government allocated $200 million to the debt-ridden City Hall in its 2018 budget. In disclosing how the Council will put this money to use, Town Clerk Royston King explained to this publication that almost half of this money will be spent on building the city’s garbage collection independence.It is expected that City Hall would be using the bulk of that money to procure two new garbage trucks to aid with its operations. The trucks are expected to arrive by June and according to the Town Clerk, the estimated cost for the two trucks will be $70 million, while allied equipment will be an additional $15 million.King related that the objective is for the city to handle 60 per cent of its solid waste management programme through collection in the city. He noted that this would be done incrementally and that the procurement, of the trucks, will be administered by the Communities Ministry.BailoutPuran Brothers Disposal and Cevons Waste Management withdrew their services on July 30, 2017, as City Hall’s debts had risen to the multimillion-dollar range. According to the companies, the issue of non-payment has been a long-standing one, with many debts going as far back as 2015.However, they had resumed collection after the municipality approached Central Government through the Communities Ministry for a bailout of $475,635,245 to settle the city’s debt to Puran Brothers, Cevons, and another company after they would have pulled their services owing to non-payment.The bailout was granted and Central Government decided to pick up the tab until December 31, after which the M&CC would step in. However, at the end of the bailout period, the M&CC failed to engage the contractors and there was a temporary impasse in the collection of garbage in the city.Last September, the M&CC implemented fees for commercial waste collection. Small business operators are required to pay $5000 per month while medium-scale business operators will contend with $8000 per month.However, large business operators across Georgetown were required to pay the most significant figure of $12,000 per month for their waste collection.The Solid Waste Director had told the Council that while the originally approved fees for commercial garbage collection were $5000, $10,000 and $15,000; the last two were reduced to $8000 and $12,000 after consultations.