A new waste and organics program in Saskatoon could cost residents an additional $20 to $30 per month based on estimates tabled in a city report released Wednesday.

City administration outlined new details, including potential costs, for a waste utility and organics program where residents pay according to how much waste they generate. The program would take waste collection costs out of property taxes and instead charge each residence at utility fee.

The report says the net cost to each resident will be higher.

“While property taxes allocated for curbside residential waste services will be reduced as a result of a new utility fee, the net cost paid by each resident will increase,” the report says.

In a report on assessing residents’ ability to pay, city administration says the cost of waste as a utility in proportion to median household income would range from 0.34 per cent to 0.66 per cent. It says the range is affordable and well below the acceptable “energy burden” which it says is “commonly accepted as six per cent”.

The report does not outline new assistance programs for waste services, but says residents could continue to access existing programs for low-income families, people with disabilities and seniors including subsidized bus passes, leisure passes, pet licensing and the Senior Property Tax Deferral program.

City administration recommends $13.6-million in capital funding be approved to implement a year round, bi-weekly organics and waste collection program for curbside residential households. The money would be borrowed from the future utility. Administration also recommends that compost depots continue operating with no changes to existing service levels.

The green cart subscription program would be discontinued after 2019, and combined with the waste utility.

Administration recommends organics and waste be collected bi-weekly. It estimates the utility cost for residents would be $20 per month based on the use of a medium sized waste cart. Weekly collection of organics and waste would cost around $33 per month.

City administration also outlines options for rates and cost recovery based on cart size over a three year period. It recommends smaller carts cost $18 per month for three years, with medium carts starting at $19.70 in the first year and rising to $24.50 by year three. Large carts would cost $22.80 in year one and rise to $36.20 by the third year

Administration says this option is more “value based” for environmental impact, and incentivize diversion by charging much less for smaller carts.

A second option prices small carts at $18 per month with no increase over three years. Medium carts would cost $19.70 in the first year and increase to $19.90 in year two, and $20.10 in year three. Large carts would cost $22.80 and rise to $23.30 and then $23.90.

Administration says this option provides a lower cost for the smaller cart over three years, a lower cost option over the long term, and incentivizes households to switch to a smaller bin.

Another option charges residents $18 per month for the smallest cart (180 litres) in the first year, rising to $18.40 in year two and then to $18.70 in year three. Medium sized carts (240 litres) would cost $20 per month and rise to $20.40 and $20.80 in subsequent years. Rates for large cart customers (360 litres) would begin at $23 per month and increase to $23.50 in year two and $23.90 in year three.

The report says the small differential rate between small and large carts would limit impact on waste diversion.

The information is expected to be discussed at the next Environment Committee meeting on Sept. 10.