Opposition councillors in Flintshire are aiming to force the ruling administration to reconsider a controversial increase in charges for garden waste collections.
Residents living in the county currently have to pay an annual fee of £30 to have their brown bins collected after the local authority stopped offering the service for free in April 2018.
However, members of Flintshire Council’s Labour-run cabinet recently approved a revised list of fees and charges which is likely to see that amount rise to £35 from spring next year or £32 for those who pay early or online.
Officers said the changes were needed to meet the rising cost of providing the service and could net the authority an extra £130,000.
But the leader of the largest opposition party has now used the “call-in” procedure which forces the council to review key decisions.
In a notice also signed by six other councillors, Mike Peers, who heads up the Independent Alliance group, said the rise was not needed.
He also questioned why cost figures were not published to justify the price hike.
Cllr Peers said: “It is not necessary to increase the charge for garden waste collections.
“The income generated from the first year of operation produced a surplus in excess of what the proposed increase will generate.
“The cabinet report refers to “the rising cost of delivering the service”.
“The rising cost figures and supporting commentary since the introduction of chargeable garden waste collections are not presented within the report.”
Despite opposition, figures show more than 40 per cent of householders signed up for the service in the first 12 months, generating almost £1m for the cash-strapped authority’s coffers.
But Cllr Peers claimed the increase was being brought in to address a drop in the number of brown bin permits paid for since then.
He added: “The number of permits sold have dropped since year one, along with the lost income (estimated to be around 23 per cent).
“How can the cost of delivering the service increase with less permits being sold and a reduction in the number of brown bins to collect?”
A special meeting of the council’s corporate resources scrutiny committee will be held to consider the decision next week.
Councillors will have the option to refer it back to the cabinet or to a full council meeting if they are not content with the explanations given.
However, if they decide they are satisfied then the increase will be allowed to go ahead as planned.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).