Free garden waste collections set to be axed in South Staffordshire
Free garden waste collections in South Staffordshire could be axed as part of plans to balance the books, it has been revealed.
A new yearly fee of £43.60 will be introduced on June 29 this year if council chiefs back the move next week.
It comes as South Staffordshire Council's cost at running the service, which was £392,000 between 2018/2019, is set to balloon to £644,440 next year.
The authority's general fund reserves are also expected to dwindle – dropping from a forecast £7.872 million at the end of this year to £798,000 by 2023/2024.
A report said: "The introduction of any charge for garden waste collection will ensure that the service is funded according to those residents who utilise it.
"Alternative means of garden waste disposal such as delivery free of charge to the Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) or treatment through home composting are available to all residents."
Residents must pay the charge fully online or by phone – with residents receiving a permit, in the form of a sticker, which will be stuck to the bin to signal payment.
Bosses say they are unable to continue to fund the service due to "current financial pressures" and a lack of Government funding.
Councillor Len Bates BEM, cabinet member for community services at the district council, said: "Having reviewed our service carefully, we find that we cannot continue to offer the garden waste collection service without a fee.
"Not everyone uses this service and the reduction in government funding and current financial pressures means we have difficult choices to make about our services.
"We remain as the fourth lowest council tax for District Councils in England and remain committed to keeping costs to a minimum – the proposed annual fee of £43.60 is less than 85p per week, with the service set to commence from July."
Councillor Bates said that while it is not a statutory service, the council was still "committed" to running it – with the cash being used to "help protect and maintain front line services".
A review of the proposed services will take place during 2021/2022 as to whether it should continue.
It is expected to be signed off on January 17.