Greater Sudbury should stop charging fees to residents who bring trash to the city's landfill sites, says one of the candidates running for mayor in the Oct. 27 municipal election.
At a news conference on Southview Drive on Thursday morning, Dan Melanson also said landfills should be open seven days a week, to accommodate people who do home renovations on the weekend.
“Basically, it's a tax on services we're already paying for,” Melanson said. “I believe a lot of residents don't think it's fair ... A tipping fee is a tax on a tax.”
The city collects about $4 million a year in tipping fees, less than 10 per cent of which comes from residents, Melanson said. The current rate is $71 a metric tonne.
Residents can bring up to 50 kilograms a week for no charge. After that, the city charges a flat rate of $3 for loads weighing 100 kilograms or less.
Melanson held his news conference along an undeveloped stretch of Southview Drive, an area where illegal dumping has been a problem. Eliminating tipping fees for residents would reduce the amount of illegal dumping, he said, as well as the amount of time crews spend picking up and taking the garbage to the landfill.
“The city spends a lot of money on crews who drive around picking up refuse at these locations,” he said. “If we can reduce that, that can go to offset the loss of tipping fees at the dump.”
And with so much home renovation work done on the weekends, he said homeowners would benefit from having the landfill open Sundays.
“You have to get there by 5 p.m. Saturday -- otherwise, you've got a pile of stuff you can't get rid of till Monday morning. And then you're late for work or you have to take the day off.”
He'd also like to see violators face maximum fines – currently set at $10,000 – and for more vigorous enforcement of the rules.
“I think there should be a reward offered through Crime Stoppers for anyone that reports on someone who is dumping illegally,” Melanson said.
While calling a proposal by Auditor General Brian Bigger to cut garbage collection days in half “interesting,” he's not a supporter.
“Personally, at this time I don't believe we need to cut back to two-week pickup for garbage.”
Melanson, a businessman, Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis and former mayor John Rodriguez are the highest profile names among the seven people running for the job in October. Incumbent Marianne Matichuk announced in June she wasn't seeking re-election.