The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) wants to increase the taxes Nelson residents pay toward the cost of residential recycling outside of the city.
According to the city’s finance manager, Colin McClure, last year the city paid the RDCK $216,217, which amounts to 48 per cent of the $413,258 cost of recycling for Nelson’s rural neighbours in places ranging from Salmo to Kokanee Creek to Meadow Creek.
On Nelson residents’ tax notices, this amount appears as part of RDCK taxes, above and beyond city taxes. Nelson residents pay taxes to the RDCK because it is part of the RDCK and many services, such as recreation and waste, are shared. City councillor Janice Morrison sits on its board.
But how does the RDCK calculate Nelson’s share of recycling costs? The city doesn’t know. And it wants an accounting from the RDCK.
At its Jan. 13 meeting, council voted to formally request such an analysis, and to state that it wants this year’s Nelson tax contribution frozen at the 2019 rate until it receives a clear understanding of how its payment is arrived at.
Nelson agrees that it does owe some payment to the RDCK for recycling, because the RDCK runs the recycle bins near the Nelson airport and at Grohman, both of which are used heavily by Nelson residents.
But the question is how much Nelson should pay and why.
Although they contribute significantly to rural recycling, Nelson taxpayers do not pay for curbside recycling pickup within Nelson – that’s paid for by Recycle BC, a provincial agency that is funded by the manufacturers of recycled paper and packaging products with some support from the provincial government.
Recycle BC is set to take over recycling in a similar way in the rural areas, but details are still being worked out. It is unclear whether this will actually reduce rural recycling costs in the short term because of the number of capital improvements, including staffed and fenced depots, that Recycle BC will require the RDCK to construct first.