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Upcoming $5 landfill fee called to question by Ward 5 councillor

A $5 user fee charged to all municipal landfill site users per visit is expected to take effect on July 1, unless Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent is successful in having the fee rescinded on June 25
Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent is tabling a motion at the June 25 city council meeting asking for a planned $5 gate dump fee charged on all city landfill sites to be rescinded before it comes into play on July 1. The fee is expected to bring in $649,000 in net revenue next year.

Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent wants the city to repeal a $5 user fee charged to all municipal landfill site users per visit, which is slated to take effect on July 1. 

The fee is in addition to any existing tipping and processing fees.

Parent plans on tabling a motion to rescind the fee during the June 25 city council meeting.

At the city’s latest estimate during budget deliberations for the 2024 and 2025 operational budgets last year, the fee was expected to yield $649,000 in net revenue per year.

“What I’m starting to sense is a growing number of people becoming anti-government, really frustrated with us with respect to our decisions on increasing property taxes and increasing user fees on what should be considered core services,” Parent told 

In a social media post, Parent said city staff “slipped” the increase into the city’s 2024/25 budget, on Page 633 of the 670-page document, and that he did not know about it until recently.

During a public finance and administration committee meeting of city council on Nov. 15, 2023, city CAO Ed Archer delivered a presentation outlining how staff shaved approximately $10.5 million from the city’s base budget to hit the 4.7-per-cent tax levy increase limit city council sought. Within this presentation, a number of budget adjustments are included on a slide titled “How We Balanced the Budget,” including the addition of $1,126,000 in net user fee revenue in 2024.

A slide from a presentation city CAO Ed Archer delivered on Nov. 15, 2023, which indicated how much user fees were changing in 2024-25 to help bring the base budget down by $10.5 million to help rein in the projected tax levy jump to 4.7 per cent. Screenshot

During his presentation, Archer said that user fees were being changed to reflect the “level of community benefits,” which is a review conducted every year, but was being “reflected in this plan to a degree greater than they have been in prior periods.”

Within the city’s draft proposed budget, also tabled on Nov. 15, 2023, the full slate of proposed user-fee changes was published. At the top of Page 633 is “Landfill Gate Fee,” with “N/A” fee in 2023 and a $5 fee for both 2024 and 2025.

A slide from the City of Greater Sudbury’s base 2024-25 budget (highlighting added by indicates the addition of a new landfill gate fee. The document was released publicly on Nov. 15, 2023, and city council finalized the budgets on Dec. 19. Screenshot

During the four-week period leading up to budget meetings in December 2023, the city’s elected officials submitted various questions to city staff, which were answered publicly online.

The first question-and-answer document, published on Nov. 23, describes the user-fee increases included in the base budget in mainly broad terms. However, an appendix to this document published online includes a breakdown of each adjustment made to shave $10.5 million from the city’s base budget in 2024 (and $8.9 million in 2025). This list includes, “Implement flat rate gate fee per landfill and transfer station visit (Environmental Services),” which was estimated to carry a 2024 revenue impact of $317,500, and $649,000 in 2025.

City council approved the 2024/25 multi-year budget in December 2023, with the new $5 fee in place effective July 1, 2024.

“We were presented with a ton of information,” Parent told of budget deliberations. “Some of us are doing our absolute best, but there’s just no way we can pick up on all these intricacies and details when you’re being presented with an $800-million budget.

“I don’t expect everyone to accept that, and they can argue that A, it’s your job to go back and read the 670-page (budget) every line and question them, and yeah, I will be doing better.”

Parent argued that the 2023 business case which outlined the proposed $5 flat-rate user fee (and which fell flat when the city’s elected officials declined to champion it) should have been brought to city council again for 2024/25 budget talks.

“If no motion is presented for a published business case, it is not automatically denied,” a city spokesperson clarified to “It simply means that council took no action on it. In that case, the idea can be reintroduced in future periods. This fee was included as part of the base budget so we could produce a draft budget that met council's budget directions (the 4.7-per-cent tax levy increase limit).”

In a social media post defending Parent’s upcoming motion, Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée wrote that city council is being “blindsided over and over,” which is “not a good feeling.”

Similar to Parent, Natalie Labbée declined to accept responsibility for the new user fee.

“We aren't auditors,” she wrote. “Our job is to be the board of directors in a governance role, not picking apart line by line. The onus is on staff to bring changes forward to us. If we don't know, we can't make proper decisions.”

Former Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan posted about the new fee on his popular Valley East Today community Facebook page this week.

“Council did approve the budget with the gate fee amount clearly indicated under ‘User Fees,’” Kirwan wrote, clarifying what he described as misinformation coming from “one of our local councillors.” 

“Staff did not try to slip anything into the budget without council’s knowledge,” Kirwan added. “It was written clearly in the budget, and staff expected councillors to review everything before voting on it.”

Both Parent and Labbée also claimed that city council was kept in the dark regarding last year’s wage increases to non-union city managers, and did not know about it until the information was leaked to Not everyone on city council agreed with this claim, and at least two staff members have affirmed city council members were told in December 2023.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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