Derbyshire Dales residents may have to foot a £9,000 bill to a private firm to pay its staff overtime in order to restart and catch-up on missed garden waste collections.
The collections have been suspended in the Dales for nearly two months but could finally restart on Monday, June 1.
Despite this, any garden waste bins inadvertently missed during the six weeks from June 1 will not be collected in a return pick-up – as would normally happen – as this would cause “longer term delays”.
During the past two months, residents have been urged to safely store garden waste until collections resume and not to burn it – due to this causing a wider public nuisance with most people at home during the day because of lockdown restrictions.
However, restarting collections could see the council having to pay up to £1,500 a week to private firm Serco, which runs the district’s bin pick-ups, to cover staff overtime costs.
On top of this, the authority is set to take a £12,500 hit to its finances in lost income from recycling waste over the next six weeks.
The hit to its finances and the cost of paying Serco’s staff overtime would be covered by government grants given to the council to help with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Council officers say the overall bill – to pay for overtime costs and cover lost income – would be £21,600 for six weeks from June 1.
They say they could bring forward a legal challenge against Serco to dispute taking on the extra costs and lost income.
However, they say: “It is envisaged that this would result in costly and protracted negotiations. The financial risks of such action are assessed as high.”
A virtual meeting will be held to discuss the garden waste plans on Thursday, May 21 from 6pm – streamed on YouTube with a link available on the council’s website.
Council officers wrote in a report on the issue this week: “Due to the increasing number of requests for the restoration of garden waste services and the greater number of people likely to be taking part in gardening activities at this time of year, the council feels that a continuation of the temporary suspension of the service is no longer acceptable.”
The authority has ruled out calling for military assistance to help bring services back because it has been advised that “all other options, including the use of agency staff, have to have been ruled out”.
It says: “Should approval be gained to reinstate the service then it should be noted that, due to the expected backlog of garden waste, it could take up to three full cycles of collections before the backlog is cleared and normal service is resumed.
“It is also likely that in the first weeks of the service recommencing, some rounds may not be completed due to the backlog of large amounts of garden waste.
“Attempts to collect missed bins would result in a ‘snowball’ effect and generate longer term delays. Therefore, missed bins will not be collected during this period.
“Also, side waste will not be collected from properties which have received three cycles of garden waste collections.
“In an attempt to expedite the collection of the backlog of garden waste, it is recommended that the temporary arrangement of fortnightly food waste collection remains in place until the backlog is clear.”