Horsham district residents have started a petition against Horsham District Council’s decision to charge £29 for garden waste collections.
The decision to charge for green waste collections was agreed by the council before Christmas and with the Council receiving less money from the Government and having to take difficult decisions in finding ways to balance income against the cost of delivering services.
The final details of the budget for 2013/14 is expected to be confirmed tomorrow (Wednesday) at the meeting of the full council.
But that has not stopped West Horsham resident Andrew Campbell starting the petition last night (Monday).
The council stands by its decision saying it is the cheapest service offered by any council in West Sussex, working out at less than 60p per week. Customers with larger gardens can also pay £15 per year to have additional bins emptied.
The leader of the council Ray Dawe, said: “Whilst we acknowledge that the move to a charged service will not be welcomed by all, we believe that it is fairer that only those residents that choose to participate in the scheme should pay for the service.”
In a statement released an HDC spokesman added: “Horsham District Council is not obliged to provide a green/garden waste collection service but believes that the service should be offered to help householders dispose of garden waste if they choose to do so.
“In December, the Council made the decision that it could no longer afford to continue providing such collections for free and agreed the introduction of a fee, which residents if they wish to continue using the service, will now have to pay. All other councils in West Sussex have a charge for this service. It is an opt-in choice for residents in that there is no obligation for them to have it or pay for it.
“The decision to charge for this service was made on the back of a huge and continuing reduction in Government funding to the Council over recent years. The simple alternative would have been to cut services or to raise the general level of Council Tax for everyone. The Council’s policy has over a period of several years now been to freeze the level of Council Tax and move to a user pays basis.
“With regard to fly tipping, experience from other councils which have introduced charges for garden waste collections do not indicate that there has been an increase in the number of fly tipping cases. Where incidents have occurred it is primarily business/commercial or bulky goods which are fly tipped and not garden waste.”
Members are meeting in the main chamber in Park North, North Street, Horsham at 6pm on Wednesday February 13. The public are welcome to attend.