Anger at rise in waste dumping fees
A sharp rise in waste dumping fees has angered landscape gardeners who fear it could ruin their businesses.
One company owner, who asked not to be named, said that an increase in charges introduced yesterday would hit firms and could drive many owners to sell or close their landscaping businesses.
She said: “It’s quite expensive. I have people that are seniors and have been doing this business for over 50 years; a lot of them are thinking of taking the early retirement.”
The business owner spoke after she said the Marsh Folly Dump had increased fees from $25 for every truck to as much as $125 for the largest trucks.
She told The Royal Gazette that she learnt of the increase after a truck driver she employed complained about the price increase.
She explained that the fee increase was the result of a mandatory order by the Ministry of Public Works.
The business owner added that a spokesman from the Department of Public Works had confirmed the increase and said that it was mentioned in an edition of The Royal Gazette.
But she said: “I didn’t see anything — I look at the paper every day.
“I’ve spoken to a few other people; they also look at the paper every day and they don’t recall seeing it.”
The woman said that she would be forced to increase her service charges and risk deterring potential clients.
She added that the increases could effect company workers and force owners to scale back their benefits or let employees go.
She said: “You can’t double and triple the prices and not expect it to have an affect on consumers and employees.”
A search through The Royal Gazette archives showed no articles that warned of an increase in dumping fees.
The business owner was one of several landscapers and homeowners that complained to the paper.
Tony Cabral, a trucker for Cabral’s General Contracting, said that his original dumping fee of $25 had doubled. The increase came at the start of a clean-up job he was hired for that will take the rest of the week to complete. Mr Cabral said: “I don’t know why they’ve done it now right after a hurricane — I’m still cleaning up hurricane damage.
“Now I have to go back to the client and tell him that the fees have gone up. He might not be too happy about that.”
Mr Cabral said that independent truckers were explaining to clients how the fee increase will affect their rates.
He estimated that the increase could raise service fees to at least a few thousand dollars.
A driver for Q&H Trucking, who asked not to be named, complained that his dumping fees went from $20 to $100 overnight without warning.
He explained that he was unaware of any announcement to changes in fees and would probably see a drastic affect on his business.
He added: “If I only charge $80 for a load and then I have a $100 fee, then I’m done.
“Especially if I took the money up front — I can’t go back to the client and say ‘look, I’m going to need more money’. They’ll tell me to eat that cost.”
A 55-year-old independent trucker, who also asked not to be named, said that the rigidity of the prices would have a large affect on business.
He explained: “We’re not going to get full loads all the time — you’re going to get a quarter of this, but it’s still going to be $75.
“What’s going to happen to them when I tell them ‘Look, I’ve got a quarter of a load but I’ve got to charge you $75 plus 10 per cent administration fee on top of that.’ What do you think they’re going to say?”
John Kaufmann, 85, said that before the increase he had hired a landscaping crew to clean his Southampton home in the wake of Hurricane Humberto.
Now, he explained, the company was concerned it would have to increase its charges.
Mr Kaufmann said that many people would turn to burning their trash and other illegal methods to avoid the costs.
He added that other elderly clients would be the most affected by the increases because they relied on landscaping companies to clear their property.
Mr Kaufmann said: “Luckily, I could handle it, but I should think that for a number of homeowners an extra $50 per load is a lot.”
The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.