Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday estimated Tuesday that contracting out garbage could save more than $16 million a year.
Holyday’s comments came a day after Mayor Rob Ford announced the city would look at privatizing all collection west of Yonge St.
Based on the $2 million saved annually in Etobicoke, where garbage is contracted out, Holyday said the savings if it were contracted out across the city could be anywhere from $16 million to $18 million.
“I think the savings are there, it’s just a matter of getting the tenders in to prove it,” he told reporters Tuesday.
City staff estimated savings based on contracting out in the area between the Humber River and Yonge St., would be around $6 million plus an additional $2 million by contracting out trash collection in all city parks and an additional 25% of litter vacuum operations.
But the Canadian Union of Public Employees released a report Tuesday refuting savings predicted by both the C.D. Howe Institute and the Toronto Board of Trade.
A day earlier, CUPE Local 416 president Mark Ferguson accused the mayor of using “fuzzy math” by quoting different figures on savings, including the C.D. Howe institute’s $49 million figure.
“It is clear that the Ford administration has no idea of what, if any, the savings would be by contracting out collection services,” Ferguson said.
In his report, CUPE economist Toby Sanger argues contracting out municipal services “won’t result in savings for the residents of Toronto.
“The real numbers and the experience show that Toronto’s waste collection service is one of the most effective in the province and compares favourably to other cities in Ontario,” Sanger writes.
The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition applauded the proposal just weeks after they asked the budget committee members to move ahead with contracting out garbage collection.
“Introducing managed competition will do wonders for reducing the burden on taxpayers,” Matthew McGuire, the coalition’s president, stated in a press release. “We think there are savings to be had, and taxpayers deserve to have the debate and realize the savings.”
The coalition launched a petition on its website, torontotaxpayer.ca, where it is collecting signatures in support of private garbage pickup.