Town tentatively ends Evergreen membership
The Town of St. Paul Council unanimously decided to end its contract with Evergreen Regional Waste Management, pending legal advice. The decision came after a conversation on requisition and tipping fees that took place at the last regular council meeting on June 9.
CAO Ron Boisvert distributed a copy of the 2013 and 2014 tipping fees charged to the town, sparking a discussion on the value of remaining a member of the commission, and what other options were available to the town.
Mayor Glenn Andersen noted that being a non-member would be cheaper for the town. He said as a member of Evergreen, the town is expected to pay a tipping fee of $75 per ton, plus requisition. Non-members pay a tipping fee of $82 per ton, and no requisition.
With requisition taken into account, the town, as a member, paid over $150 per ton in 2013, said Anderson. In total it costs the town $250,000 to haul waste to Evergreen as a member.
Boisvert said, “We also got the information from Cold Lake on their fees. I didn’t get all the working papers, but they said they spent $815,000 last year to move their waste from there to Ryley.”
“They have a bigger population, though, and lots of construction going on there, which can make the amount variable,” he added.
Boisvert said the calculation for Cold Lake’s hauling fees in total came to $95 per ton, and they don’t get requisitioned. He noted that as a member of Evergreen, St. Paul has a higher tipping fee, once its requisition rate is taken into account.
In a call with the Journal after the meeting, Andersen said Evergreen is able to requisition the town for its shortfall, and that is a problem because it then falls on taxpayers.
“We have to reexamine how we do business here. We’re not seeing advantages in being a member. We try to control our waste from St. Paul and they think we’re subsidizing other groups,” said the mayor.
“We’re trying to work through to find new methods like shredders or hauling to Ryley, we’re trying to eliminate our landfilling. We can do better as a town. Evergreen’s not interested in that, so we have to do what’s best for us,” he added.
At the meeting, Andersen also expressed concern about the construction of new cells at the Evergreen landfill, located near Lafond.
“Someone has to pay that $2.5 million that they took out to build those new waste cells. We have some choices here. We can vote to be a non-member, then that means we give up membership one year from the date we decide.”
He continued, “We can haul to Ryley, so we don’t get requisitioned, or we can say ‘Here’s our plan,’ and take a year to get our act together and get a shredder. It’s up to you, if you want to continue as members.”
Boisvert said that as a non-member, the town would still be responsible for old debts. He advised council to seek out legal advice on the agreement, and effects of possibility leaving the commission.
He said he would forward the matter to the town’s lawyer, also mentioning that a motion could be rescinded if necessary.
A motion was made to cease membership with Evergreen Waste Management as of June 9, pending legal advice on the town’s contract with the commission. The motion was carried.
Steve Upham, Reeve of the County of St. Paul and board chair for Evergreen said the response to the town ending its membership would be “an involved process,” with Municipal Affairs.
Upham said, “We’re going to have to seek advice on the process. We’re going to find out what needs to b done and take it from there with legal counsel. We’ve enjoyed the partnership we’ve had with the town. It’s unfortunate they have made that decision, but that’s their prerogative.”
He added, “At the end of the day we’re working hard to make Evergreen a sustainable and viable operation. We have every confidence it will be.”