New green waste collection charges and closing Burn Road recycling centre two days a week proposed to save cash
Council bosses are to consider introducing green waste collection charges as part of plans to make savings to balance its budget.
Hartlepool Borough Council bosses will also be looking at closing the Household Waste Recycling Centre in Burn Road on Mondays and Tuesdays, its ‘least busy days’, as part of plans to save £657,000 going into 2020/21.
Council chiefs said they are looking to make savings as they attempt to balance the budget while facing a £2.636million deficit for 2020/21.
They said this follows ‘nine years of austerity’ and a reduction in government funds of 45%, equating to £20.9million, since 2013/14.
A report considering the savings will go before Hartlepool Borough Council Neighbourhood Services Committee, with the result then being reported back to the Finance and Policy Committee.
If approved, households will be required to pay £35 a year for green waste collection, equivalent to £2.91 for 12 months, commencing April 2020.
Nationally 65% (212 out of 326) of councils charge for this service and the annual charges range up to £96.
A report from Denise McGuckin, council director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, noted currently 7 of the other 11 North East councils charge for garden waste services and the annual charges range from £32 to £40.
It also added if the council does not implement green waste charges it could miss out on potential government funding, with a consultation document last year from the government looking at providing support to councils who have to make policy changes around garden waste.
The council report added the introduction of the garden waste collection fee would raise an estimated £256,000 in 2020/21 and more the following year.
It said: “The introduction of a subscribed garden waste collection service will realise £256K income based upon a 16% uptake and a further £173K income with 28% uptake.
“There is a risk that new burdens funding may only be provided to compensate councils which currently charge for garden waste, particularly if the government adopt an approach to fully compensate individual councils based on actual charges.
“By implementing garden waste charges from April 2020 the council’s financial position will be protected if the government implement a free national garden [waste collection] and at that stage the charge could then be removed.”
As part of the savings proposals the council could also change the opening of the household waste recycling centre (HWRC) on Burn Road from seven days a week to five.
The council report said: “It is proposed to reduce the opening of the HWRC site from 7 days per week to 5 days, closing the site Monday and Tuesday, the least busy days, would achieve an annual saving of £51,500.”
Council chiefs said additional income can also be achieved by introducing a separate mattress collection service, alongside its existing bulky waste collection service, charged at £7.50 per mattress.
Other savings identified include reducing the number of street cleansing vehicles and moving towards manual sweeping, and reducing the frequency of grass cutting along the A689 and A179.
The report from Mrs McGuckin stressed the financial issues facing the council coming from pressure in children’s and adult social care.
It said: “The one year Government Spending Review announced on 4th September 2019 provides a better financial settlement for Local Government than indicated by previous Government announcements.
“However, the additional funding does not reverse the previous nine years of funding cuts, or fully address the budget pressures facing the sector in 2020/21, particularly in relation to children and adult social care.”
The proposals will go before the Neighbourhood Services Committee meeting at 11am on Friday at the Civic Centre.