Petrolia compost fee idea dumped

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You won’t have to pay to use the compost site in Petrolia – at least not this year.

Town council agreed to drop a plan to charge a $30 per year “membership” or a one-time $5 fee giving residents access to the site. The idea came from the Director of Operations, Mike Thompson, who was charged with finding ways to save money and generate revenue.

Thompson came up with several ideas including a plan to pay a user fee for the compost site. It would have brought in about $40,000. He also suggested reducing the hours at the site to only two days a week instead of three.

But town staff at the composting area was fielding all kinds of complaints and Thompson felt it wasn’t worth the aggravation.

“Our workers took most of the flack when it came to this,” says CAO Manny Baron adding Thompson “doesn’t want them to bear the brunt of the complaints.”

The town workers were not the only ones getting an earful. Councillor Joel Field says he had more people talk to him about a compost user fee than the budget. “It’s a small thing but it was a service they expect,” he says.

Council also agreed to reinstate a three-day of the week service instead of the two suggested.

The idea of a user-fee for composting isn’t dead yet. Councillor Ross O’Hara who was initially skeptical about the move, suggested council revisit the idea next year.

In the meantime, the town will educate people about what should go to the compost site to help eliminate some of the staff time taken up sorting the items brought to the site.