COUNCIL tax payers could face an extra £1.5m cost for emptying the bins as a result of standardising the rubbish contract across Chester City, Ellesmere Port and Vale Royal council areas.
That’s the fear of Labour councillors on the new shadow Cheshire West and Chester Council which takes over from the existing district councils and Cheshire County Council on April 1 next year.
Tory-led Chester City Council is pressing ahead with its more expensive weekly rubbish collection while cheaper fortnightly collections exist in Ellesmere Port and Vale Royal.
Labour leader Cllr Derek Bateman fears the Conservative dominated Cheshire West Council will now go on to introduce weekly collections across the whole patch with the public asked to pick up the bill.
Cllr Bateman said: “Our concern is that Ellesmere Port is offering a good scheme which most people are relatively happy with and Vale Royal also has alternate week collections and is maximising recycling. Chester is upsetting the whole issue and potentially increasing collection costs by £1.5m. I think that’s ridiculous.”
By law, Chester’s decision must be confirmed by the shadow Cheshire West authority because there are wider implications for the new regime which takes over in eight months’ time.
That’s why Cllr Bateman’s group was able to call-in the decision for examination during a private session which will take place at Thursday’s scrutiny committee on the shadow council.
This is the second time the decision has been called-in. Lib Dems on Chester City Council unsuccessfully argued the move would cost tax payers’ more money and discourage people from recycling.
A Conservative press release, which called for an end to “petty game-playing”, stated: “Days after the new rubbish contract was agreed it once again hangs in the balance after Labour councillors used blocking powers.”
Deputy city council leader Stephen Mosley said: “This behaviour is tiresome, childish and costly. Labour has had months to complain.”
He added: “We posted a consultation leaflet with every council tax bill last April and way over 70% of the public backed our plans for weekly collections and improved recycling.
“To try and stop it now flies in the face of democracy and common sense. Labour’s actions are also costing the tax payer thousands as the delay and endless meetings continue.”