There was mass confusion at Monday’s council meeting over the new Pay by Weight refuse system which has been deferred until August 1.
For almost an hour councillors aired their issues and sought clarification on a number of matters relating to the new system.
Acting County Manager, Martin Dolan outlined that one waste company has reduced their annual prices and these are “competitive” with national prices. He told the council that the weight system comes from an EU policy and the system will soon be implemented nationally.
He stated that “4,000 households are not registered with a waste company in Leitrim.” He said the council must know what every resident is doing with their waste, whether you share waste disposal or are using a waste collection system.
Cllr Francis Gilmartin said “many people are losing their landline because they cannot afford it, how can they be expected to pay €80-€240 a year?”
Many councillors queried what will happen to those living on roads not serviced by a collection and asked what the solution is for those who did buy special waste bags and left them at a collection point, as they could not do the same thing with a bin.
Cllr John Ward said he believed that once the company ”get everyone in they will charge what they like.” He put forward a motion to remove the bye law as he fears people will resort to illegal dumping, but the motion was denied.
This fear of people retuning to burning and illegal dumping was voiced by many councillors.
Cllr John McCartin called for spot checks on bin weights, to make sure that the collectors are not adding on weights. He called for more recyclable amenities with plastics to prevent people “dumping and burning.”
Cllr Martin Kenny called for the council to regulate the payments. He said it was “unfair to impose” people pay an amount that is not regulated.
Cllr Mary Bohan questioned whether people can still use the bags under the dual system, as the waste collectors seem to be unclear on this.
Cllr Gordon Hughes said communication on the system was a “disaster.” He asked for a special meeting to work out price examples, but this was contested by some councillors.
Cllr Sinead Guckian said she understood that “seven years ago everyone was to be registered with the council for waste.” She blamed the new waste system on the Government.
Martin Dolan said for the majority the new system will “work out better.” Cllr Sean McGowan asked the council to release a press release with average costs for the public.