‘Bag tag’ bylaw to be drawn up

“Bag tags” took another step towards becoming a reality for local residents Wednesday afternoon after town council approved a report by Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown and motioned for a bylaw to be prepared.
Brown is aiming to have the “bag tag” system up and running by Monday, May 31—the first garbage pick-up day where residents will have to attach tags to their garbage if they want it taken away.
The new system will be introduced to the public and implemented as follows:
On April 26, the town will mail out a letter outlining the new requirement, a brochure, and a service agreement form to all businesses and multi-residential properties that receive garbage collection services under the town’s contract with Asselin Transportation and Storage Ltd.
During the first and second week of May, five introductory “bag tags” will be mailed to property owners. The property owner will be responsible to distribute them to any tenants.
On May 18, two public meetings—one in the morning or afternoon and the other in the evening—will be held at the Civic Centre, where the public will receive first-hand knowledge on the new user fees and waste management system.
Then on May 25, a special meeting of council will be scheduled for a reading of the bylaw, at which time any adjustments will be made (if deemed necessary) as a result of public feedback from the two aforementioned meetings.
Once any adjustments are made, a third and final reading will be made. The “bag tag” system then will come into effect May 31.
“Bag tags” will be sold for $1 each, and be available at the Fort Frances Public Library, Memorial Sports Centre, and Civic Centre at first, with other locations possibly to follow.
Local businesses will be asked if they’d be willing to sell tags in the future, said Brown. Canada Safeway already has expressed interest in doing so at no cost to the town.
Proofs for the “bag tags” already have been ordered, noted Brown. Once they arrive and are approved by council, an initial order of 35,000 will be made.
In related news, Brown said a meeting is scheduled for April 6 with Koochiching County regarding expanding recycling services, such as processing box board and handling a higher volume of residential waste.
Brown stressed that council (with the exception of Coun. Struchan Gilson, who voted against “bag tags”) and town administration find the “bag tag” system preferable to a straight tax hike because it:
•encourages recycling, and waste reduction and reuse among residents;
•is a “fairer system,” whereby those who generate more waste will not be subsidized by those who actively recycle and produce less waste; and
•means less waste is being deposited at the landfill, thus increasing its “longevity” and reducing future capital expenditures for the community in the future.
The main goal of all this is to have the town’s waste system become a “stand-alone utility,” which does not rely on taxation but on user fees to sustain itself.
If the “bag tag” system goes ahead as detailed above (five introductory tags, $1/bag thereafter), it is expected to bring in $120,000 in revenue in 2004 and $252,000 in subsequent years.