The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay passed its budget on Jan. 29 and while all of council supported the budget not everyone was happy with all of the decisions made.
The tipping fee at the dump for local businesses was increased by 10 per cent, up from $10 a load to $11. Additionally, the tipping fee for out of town businesses was increased by 25 per cent. Councillors Lori Dyson and Jackie Compton-Hobbs voted against the increase, citing concerns of local businesses.
“I don’t think local businesses should be incurring any more expenses,” Compton Hobbs told the Labradorian. “Anybody that’s operating a small business is already maxed out with business taxes, fees, and income taxes.”
Compton-Hobbs said some small businesses may go to the dump twice a day, which is an additional $2 a day, $12 a week, and so on. The tipping fee has only been in place for a few years and she said she can’t support increasing it.
“On the previous council I was approached by several business owners who were quite upset about the tipping fees for local businesses,” she said. “I was elected by the people so I have to make my decisions based on what local people are telling me. So, I did not support the 10 per cent increase.”
Dyson said in her past experience operating a small business in Happy Valley-Goose Bay can be a struggle, especially with the impacts from Muskrat Falls.
“I could not justify any increase to the local businesses,” she said. “I have no problem with the out of town tipping fee increase to maximize the benefit for the town. But I just didn’t see any reason to put any type of a financial burden on the small businesses that are already struggling.”
Regarding the out of town tipping fees, which Compton Hobbs also supports increasing, Dyson said there are a lot of companies that came into town at the beginning of this project and set up and in the last little while some of these companies are winding down.
“We were trying to get as much out of the out of town businesses as we can and it’s true those revenues that the town got are going to decrease dramatically unless another big project comes along,” Dyson said.
Currently the town makes about $500,000 a year in tipping fees from Muskrat Falls, which they are attempting to recoup through this increase.
“I think we should cross that bridge when we come to it, not put it on the backs of small businesses,” Compton-Hobbs said.