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NORA to hike per capita levy

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The Northwestern Ontario Recycling Association will be increasing its per capita levies by $2 in 2001.

After running into increased costs, funding shortages, and less revenue, NORA has been forced to turn to area municipalities—and their residents—for more money.

“There was an increase in cost in the maintenance of the equipment and there was some problems at the recycling plant, as well,” said NORA chair, Dennis Brown.

“There is also more and more recycling because of bag tags in Kenora and that, in turn, increased our costs,” he noted.

The per capita levy will jump from $8 to $10 to eliminate NORA’s recent deficit, upgrade equipment, and handle the general increase in recycling.

“Even in Fort Frances, our contractor has had to spend another day there,” said Brown. “He used to be there Monday and Tuesday and now he’s there Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.”

Although the recycling program in the Kenora and Rainy River districts has been doing well in terms of use, any increase in recycling across the area affects NORA’s budget.

“In a way, we’re a victim of our own success,” explained Brown. “We do know the residents want it because 80 percent of residents in the Kenora and Rainy River districts have blue boxes.”

NORA expects to get about $160,000 from the province—money it had hoped to receive this year.

“We got some money, $40,000 for recycling glass and some for a new truck, but we thought there would be some money for operations,” noted Brown.

NORA also was affected by a drop in market prices for recycled material.

“This year, the price of the commodities has decreased and because the prices dropped, we didn’t get any revenue,” he noted. “By increasing our levy by $2, we’ll be able to eliminate our deficit in one or two years.”

The increase is expected to be the last one for about five years, he added.

Meanwhile, to further help reduce costs, NORA no longer will provide the over-sized recycling bins for free for Northwestern Ontario businesses.

The $100 bins will be sold to municipalities, which then can decide whether to charge businesses for them or hand them out for free and cover the costs.

Pickup still will be free of charge.

As mayor of Atikokan, Dennis Brown said he found it difficult to raise the per capita levy and put even more strain on municipal budgets but stressed NORA had few options.

“Because of our geographic area, it’s very costly,” he said.

NORA’s next board meeting is Jan. 23, when it will consider the purchase of flatbed trucks to ship material from local transfer stations to the recycling plant in order to reduce wear and tear on the quickly-deteriorating recycling trucks which currently make the trip.

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