TORONTO — City staff have recommended not proceeding with the privatization of garbage collection east of Yonge Street.
Currently, garbage collection is privatized west of Yonge in districts one and two and east of Yonge, waste collection is provided in house by city staff.
The recommendations in the agenda said that “the best value and lowest risk to the City of Toronto at this time is to continue with the current model.”
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It also said that providing services as a mix of in-house and private sector services mitigates financial risk and provides flexibility to adapt to changes.
The recommendations will be brought before the Public Works and Infrastructure committee on Sept. 22.
“Privatizing garbage west of Yonge Street has been a huge success to the tune of $11 million a year in savings for tax payers,” said Ward 25 Councillor Jaye Robinson.
“It’s something I would definitely like to see east of Yonge Street and as the chair of Public Works I have a lot of questions for this report.”
Robinson said she will be “drilling down” into the report ahead of next week’s meeting, but added that she’s “not really comfortable with the numbers I am seeing.”
“I’m not comfortable with the recommendations I’m seeing. For me, we need to outsource east of Yonge to maximize – not only customer service – but also maximize cost savings,” she said.
“That’s going to be my goal to look at how we can deliver this service for the least cost The mayor did talk about –throughout the whole election period – garbage was topical in many of the debates and he did make that part of his key plank of his platform that he would pursue outsourcing.”
Ward 3 Councillor Stephen Holyday said that as the city gets closer to the end of the year contract negotiations cost becomes another major issue.
“We don’t know what wages would be. I’m starting to wonder if it’s time to send this report to the penalty box for a few months and … get some questions asked before we revisit a decision,” he said.
“The average person doesn’t worry about who collects their garbage. They want to come home and find their bin empty However it effects the city’s operations tremendously, it effects how we plan our workforce and it effects the bottom line.”
In the 2014 municipal election, Mayor John Tory touted privatizing garbage collection but now said he is assessing the report.
“The Mayor remains committed to providing Toronto residents the best service at the lowest cost,” said spokeswoman Amanda Galbraith.
“There are a number of unanswered questions in the report including private sector bid costs, which have been assumed and are not tested, and the impact, if any, [of] new collective bargaining agreements could have on the city’s cost figures. He looks forward to seeing the report considered at Committee.”
Robinson said she believes Tory is still committed to pursuing the idea and that councillors will spend the next week examining the issues surrounding cost.
“If there is a way to save money and deliver the service as effectively from the public sector as the private, we need to pursue that,” she said.
“It’s been a huge success west of Yonge. Let’s do it across the city.”