Public Values

Toronto private waste collection savings overblown — study

City underestimates costs of monitoring private waste contracts.

Alfred: Claimed savings can only be achieved by cutting monitoring costs, putting services at risk.Toronto, ON, May 9, 2011: A new study reveals that city staff have significantly over-estimated the savings promised by privatizing waste collection and that this may put blue box and green services at risk.

"Academic studies show governments should spend about 20 percent of the cost of a private contract to properly monitor the company and ensure it delivers the promised services," said Emily Alfred, Waste Campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA).

The City report proposes significantly less funding for contract monitoring — at most 4.2 percent of the contract value. If the City were to set aside enough for contract oversight, the estimated savings from privatizing residential waste collection drops from $6 million to about $2 million.

  In 2007, the City Auditor reported that the City had not properly monitored private waste contracts and as a result, service suffered.

"The only way to achieve the level of savings claimed is by cutting down on monitoring costs, and that could put our services at risk," said Alfred. "We've found a number of examples from Toronto and other cities where problems with contract language, monitoring, and enforcement led to compromised waste diversion."

The City already has a history of not monitoring properly private waste contracts. In 2007, the City Auditor reported that the City had not properly monitored private waste contracts and as a result, service suffered.

"It's unclear why City staff low-balled monitoring costs, therefore suggesting higher potential savings from privatization," said Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of TEA. "It's even more unclear what to make of the fact that Mr. Rathbone, the head of Solid Waste Management and one of the report authors, is departing to work for a private company that may benefit from privatization. What is clear is that City Councillors have incomplete, if not inaccurate, information about the potential costs and savings that would come from privatizing waste collection."

The above findings are in Look Before You Leap: An Environmental Perspective on Privatizing Waste Collection in Toronto, a study released by TEA.

The report calls on City Councillors to reject staff recommendations. "There are too many questions about the staff report and about why it recommends Councillors should be excluded from reviewing the final contract," said Hartmann. "Council should hold off on making any decision until the facts are in front of them. Otherwise, our blue box and green bin services may suffer."

Related individuals, organizations and significant events
To download Look Before You Leap: An Environmental Perspective on Privatizing Waste Collection in Toronto or to read an executive summary of the report, please click here.

Links and sources
  New study: City report over-estimates savings from privatizing waste collection, puts services at risk

Posted: May 11, 2011

Categories:
  News
  Public services

Public Values (PublicValues.ca) is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication StraightGoods.ca


Public Values
 
HOME
CONTACT US
SEARCH
FREE BULLETIN
FRANÇAIS
Search PublicValues.ca
Donate to PublicValues.ca
News
Research
Politics
Campaigns
Health care
Public services
Natural resources
Energy
Education
Front lines
Voices of privatization
Feedback and dialogue
Visit StraightGoods.ca
About Us
Donations
Newswire/RSS
What is framing?
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Updated frequently
To view photo captions, run your mouse over the photo
 
Bookmark and Share

© Golden Lake Institute/PublicValues.ca, 2007-11
PublicValues.ca owns copyright on all staff-written articles.
We encourage others to freely distribute material from this website but, without explicit permission,
Web publishers may only use short excerpts that also include credit to us and a reference to our site for the full article.
This site is managed by the Golden Lake InstituteVisit Golden Lake Institute Website and Straight Goods NewsVisit Straight Goods News Website
For comments or suggestions, please contact the PublicValues.ca Editor
For technical issues, please contact the PublicValues.ca Webmaster