Thomas Hynes, a resident of Cold Brook, is upset about the jump in his garbage bill from the Town of Stephenville that he said went up from $100 to $354 with no notification.
Mayor Tom Rose confirmed that has taken place for residents of Cold Brook and the community of Noel’s Pond but said the Town of Stephenville had no choice but to make the hike based on the ratio of increase the town has to pay in regional tipping fees.
Hynes said if the hike was equally across the board with residents of Stephenville having to pay a higher rate, then it would be easier to swallow; however, he hasn’t heard of such an increase for residents of the town.
“It seems they’re (Stephenville town council) penalizing Noel’s Pond and Cold Brook residents because we’re not paying regular taxes,” he said.
Hynes said there are a lot of seniors in these communities and they’re already finding it difficult to live.
“This is a bit much when you have fees for garbage that are 250 per cent higher with no notification. It’s just too much. It’s gouging,” he said.
Rose said with the Regional Waste Management increases coming on July 1, every community in the region will be hit, so the town is forecasting the increased cost.
In relation to the taxpayers in Stephenville, he said there is no special fee for garbage and it’s included in the town taxes that residents pay, with some having to pay about $2,000 based on assessment.
Rose said the provincial government put such a big piece of infrastructure in place for the management of waste and when you see significant increase, to him it’s not the right approach and hurts the average citizen significantly.
However, he said it should be no surprise to anyone that increases were coming for garbage fees as there’s been a lot of media coverage on the issue, especially in the last while.
“In hindsight we should have made residents of Cold Brook and Noel’s Pond aware of the impending increases,” Rose said.
He said if the town doesn’t charge them, then those communities would have to form their own Local Service District and have to deal with regional waste management and the provincial government themselves.
“If the majority of residents of these communities wanted to be part of Stephenville and pay property tax, then they’d get all the services we provide or they can go it on their own,” Rose said.
Rose said he’s open to work with the people of Cold Brook and Noel’s Pond whether they want in or not.
He said if this increase wasn’t in place, then basically the residents of Stephenville would end up subsidizing the residents of these communities for their garbage collection.