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Junk dumped at Thrift Store steals thousands of dollars from hospital donations

UPDATE May 19 – Mayor Robert Quaiff, making a request of Acting CAO James Hepburn, has provided confirmation that the expenses of garbage in the County continue to outweigh the revenue and the additional charge to taxpayers (using 2014 numbers), is $123,000.

The following is a summary of revenues and contracted costs for garbage (excludes recycling and organics). See asterisk at bottom for excluded expenses incurred for the operation of landfills and transfer sites – such as wages, repairs, maintenance, supplies and fees for environmental testing and reporting.

Following that, is the schedule of fees, as posted on the County website.

Garbage-Revenues-and-Expenditures-

schedule-WasteFeesandCharges
* * *
Second-Time-AroundMAY 14 – County citizens dumping off what amounts to garbage at the Hospital Auxiliary’s Thrift Shop, are taking thousands of dollars away from donations to Picton’s hospital.

“Some people have been using our drop-off area as a way to get rid of unwanted and unusable items – old, stained mattresses, broken and dirty furniture and so forth,” said Pamela Strachan, the thrift store’s manager, presumably to avoid dump fees.

The problem is year-round, but is heightened with drop-offs of unsellable items from Spring cleaning, moving and leftovers from yard-sales.

The Second Time Around Shop, downtown Picton, is run by the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary on a volunteer basis. They raise about $280,000 annually for equipment needs at the County’s hospital.

“Because of this, the auxiliary is obliged to spend between $500 and $600 a month for removal of what amounts to garbage,” said Strachan. “This is money (more than $6,000 annually) which should be going to our hospital.”

And though the thrift shop parking lot has surveillance cameras, some of the dumping has been done in the evenings with specific intention by covering license plates.

“We do appreciate donations enormously,” said Strachan. “But let’s not waste money ear-marked for community health care because of the thoughtless actions of a few people.”

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  1. Marnie says:

    Right on Mark and Susan. Common sense is the missing element. We have money for the frills while ignoring the basics. The illegal dumping that we are seeing now is the result of high bag tag fees and lack of a couple of free pickups a year. Nice that supporters of the splash pad feel we need still something more to entertain the kids. Do they not get it that some kids in the county may not be getting enough to eat or the dental care they need?

  2. Mark says:

    If you are on minimum wages raising a family, huge water, electrical and rent costs here, sometimes you make a choice. Do you have dinner for the kids or do you toss a couple of bags to the ditch? Seems like a practical choice even if some frown upon it. The County government has lost focus on the services they need to provide. Look after the residents here first and let the tourists build a splash pad of their own.

  3. Susan says:

    Marnie is correct. We need pickup spring and fall to get rid of junk! Not a lot to ask of our tax dollars. We need a splash pad like a toothache! Hwy 49 is shot. County road 10 is shot. East main street Picton is just ridiculous. I say a family can’t buy a swimming pool or a hot tub when the roof needs replacing. What is it that people do not understand nowdays?

  4. Hildagard says:

    Wish we could see a cost analysis for Hastings and L & A Counties to compare with Prince Ed. County! That would be interesting!!

  5. Ken Globe says:

    Sorry Emily, I worded that wrong even with disposable diapers we were able to keep it down to two bags a week.

  6. Marnie says:

    @Chris there is no need to worry. There are no free pick-ups in the county so you can pay for a splash pad with the savings in your tax dollars instead. Using your rationale I should not have to pay any education taxes because I have no children in the school system.

  7. Paul says:

    There has to be ways to curb illegal dumping Chris maybe a licensing fee for yard sales which provides you with dump tags, maybe donations to the Thrift store can only be made by appointment, all these would rely on bylaw enforcement which seems to be lacking in Prince Edward County..

  8. Susan says:

    Marnie, in Belleville large waste items such as furniture is picked up at residents curb.

  9. Chris Keen says:

    @ Marnie: There is no such thing as “free” pick-up!! I do not want to pay for the disposal of other people’s castoffs with my taxes. I doubt council is using garbage collection as an income source but is simply covering the actual costs of disposal. There have always been people who dump illegally and there always will be – sadly – and they are not necessarily those who cannot afford to pay the fees!

  10. Marnie says:

    There was a time when there was no charge for garbage disposal and no bag limits. Then came the download. It is understandable that there is now a need to charge additionally for this service but if the garbage thrown on back roads and deposited at the thrift store is any indication the system is not working. People are finding it too expensive and too restrictive. Council needs to look at a free pick-up day spring and fall for larger items and possibly consider allowing an extra bag to go curbside each week. It costs $2 more per bag to take additional garbage to the dump – a rip-off and an incentive for illegal dumping. If council can afford to blow $35,000 a year on a splash pad it can afford a free pick-up for larger items now and then. The problem is only going to get worse if allowed to continue.

  11. Chris Keen says:

    @Paul: Judging by the comments here, if the County granted an exemption to the Thrift store for the costs of disposal, you wouldn’t be able to get near it for the endless lines of cars ready to dump stuff illegally; if you were able to reach the lot, there’d be no space left for your junk. There’s mo such thing as a “free” junk day. Either I pay for my disposal costs or we all do. Guess where I fall on this. Anyone who dumps illegally should be fined. Period.

  12. Paul says:

    Maybe the County could offer an exemption to the Thrift store on the cost of disposal. An operation like that must have considered potential for issues like this. Approach the County and ask for an exemption a worthy cause like this should have no problem….

  13. Marnie says:

    Ken, last week I discarded a torn Queen-size comforter. But how to get rid of it? It almost fills a garbage bag. I have two bags to go curbside each week so I cannot put it out with the trash. It will cost $5. to dispose of it at the dump. That’s pricey but there is no other choice. Things wear out or are damaged beyond repair no matter how conscientious we are about recycling and garbage disposal. There is no economical way to get rid of them. If an item constructed of wood must be dumped it necessitates a trip to Milford or whatever dump accepts wood these days. We need a free annual pick up of such items. Not all of us have a truck in which to transport them.

  14. Doris Lane says:

    I have a lot of junk which I try to hire people to take to the dump for me
    Firstly I have trouble getting those people to come and second it is very expensive to have them dump stuff at the dump for me meanwhile my junk clutters up my garage
    Is there a solution to this problem?

  15. Mark says:

    So an average family of 4 in Picton will pay over $2,000 a year for just water and garbage collection. Any thoughts how those on minimum wage can swing that?

  16. Emily says:

    Well there you go Ken, you answered your own point. You didn’t dispose of diapers!

  17. Ken Globe says:

    No Marnie I am not, but as someone who had 5 kids at one time in a household BEFORE green bins and disposable diapers, we were able to keep it down to 2 bags a week.

  18. Susan says:

    And those green bins are an expensive fad. Fly gathering, raccoon and skunk haven that reek with germs. Will never have one of those on my property. Disease carrier waiting to get you!

  19. Marnie says:

    You are not privy to the needs of every household in town Ken. Two bags do not always cover it for all of us.

  20. Ken Globe says:

    Or more of the locals can do what some are already doing. going out in the morning and dumping their trash in the downtown garbage cans, or any dumpster that is not locked shut. Unless you have upwards of 6 people in your household or a bunch of kids in disposable diapers, and do a crap job of recycling and green binning, there is no reason why you would have more than two bags a week in your garbage.

  21. lou says:

    so yes its horrible to dump there. (if they are concealing license plates then they know their stuff is not sellable)
    BUT
    i think its ok, if people put their yardsale leftovers (if the are nice and sellable that is)

    unfortunate. i know someone worked there. and some of the garbage that came in as clothes too. I told them to wear workgloves. stuff mixed in with clothing. (needles)

    some people just dont care, or dont know any better

  22. Sam says:

    $3 for a tag or $3000 fine for littering… And there really isn’t much “trash” that can’t be recycled or composted.

  23. Marnie says:

    You’re right, Chuck. Even conscientious recycling does not always result in just a couple of bags of trash a month. The cost for getting garbage to the curb is excessive. Garbage pick-up with its two-bag limit is also too restrictive. Some people generate more than two bags of trash a week now and then and should be able to put an additional bag curbside when necessary. There are people who simply cannot afford bag tags at today’s prices.

  24. Chuck says:

    Come on Ken, it’s about affordability! They are not worried about recycling and stinking green boxes when the main concern is getting food on the table. It’s survivor mode. It is a natural instinct and should you ever be unfortunate enough to be in that situation you would better understand.

  25. Ken Globe says:

    Between the green bin and blue boxes with a family of four, we are two bags a month. I think the people you know Chuck need to revisit how they do their refuse. And if they ever get caught illegally dumping, they should be fined accordingly.

  26. Chuck says:

    I know quite a few people who dump their waste along the road on a regular basis. When you are choosing between bag tags and food on the table it is an easy choice for many. It will continue to get worse.

  27. Snowman says:

    Churches are not taxed by municipalities.Good news is they pay water and sewer.:)

  28. Susan says:

    Anon. When did tax dollars go to assist churches? Never that I am aware of.

  29. Marnie says:

    We are all well aware of the purpose of our taxes Anon. This community has many needs more pressing that a splash pad. Unless the users live in Picton and can walk to the fairgrounds, how are they to get to it? If parents have to drive their kids there they can just as easily transport them to Wellington Beach or the Outlet. Lots of us grew up without a splash pad and are doing just fine. Life!

  30. Anon says:

    Hmmm!! Considering that Picton has the highest number of low income families in the county and most of them don’t have access to places like Sandbanks or let alone the chemical dump of Picton harbour, a splash pad seems like a wonderful idea!! Complaining about waste pickup fees or suggesting that we have more free pickups is absurd. Just create less waste and pay higher taxes. Don’t forget that taxes are what pay for you healthcare, education, churches, roads, life!!!

  31. Marnie says:

    If council would focus on the necessary such as the urgent need for affordable bag tag rates and an annual free pick-up of larger items instead of worrying about frills such as splash pads they might gain a little more respect. Take a drive through some of the back roads of the county and you will see a lot of garbage that never made it to the dump. Many people just cannot pay those exorbitant fees.

  32. Wolf Braun says:

    Good post Kelly.

    I traded some emails with his Worship several months ago abut bag tags and their cost, especially as it relates to the extra $1. charge for taking your garbage to the dump.

    His first response was to ask for a few days to check into t and then get back to me. In fairness he replied while on vacation. He did provide a return date to Shire Hall.

    I allowed ample extra time for a reply beyond his return date. I had to finally send a reminder. His reply made no sense again). My take on it? It was a one-sided negotiation with the provider. Do we have tough negotiators at Shire Hall?

    Try sending his Worship an email for more clarification on this.

  33. Chuck says:

    Councilor Harrison seems to be the only one acting with fiscal responsibility on a consistent basis. He probably should have run for mayor.

  34. Susan says:

    My God! What more do you say? We are deeply in debt, over taxed, roads falling apart all over and a water/wastewater crisis and they are supporting a splash pad! Insane comes to mind.

  35. Donna says:

    Like to see The County help The County. Let’s get networking guys!

  36. Mark says:

    We used to have a free spring clean up day if you got to the dump. Gone. Belleville picks up all furniture at the street, Christmas trees etc. So does Quinte West. Prince Edward is continually more tax less service. In debt to our a!! but we can afford to add a splash pad for an island community. Oh and don’t forget to dig out the fire hydrants as we couldn’t expect fireman to do that on the downtime.

  37. Hildagard says:

    I agreed with both Kelly and Marnie. That $35,000 could certainly be put to better use!!
    It would pay for several free pick-ups of large and small items several times a year!! The other issue is not being able to even take leaves and brush to a landfill site through the week. Some people work on Saturdays and cannot get there on SATURDAYS!! This whole subject of garbage needs to be re-visited by council ASAP!! Council needs to take their blinders off and look at how Napanee and other surrounding areas deal with their garbage! We certainly pay enough taxes and now council feels we can afford to throw $35,000 a year into maintaining a summer splash pad!! If County residents were not hurting already with huge hydro bills, fuel bills and taxes, then throw the money at the splash pad–but that is NOT the situation!! Wake up councillors and Mayor!!!

  38. Marnie says:

    The real problem is with the county. The high cost of bag tags coupled with the even higher cost of taking garbage to the dump leads to the sort of dumping now being experienced by the thrift stores. How are we expected to dispose of some of these items? Forget the splash pad and use that $35,000 for free pick-up days for larger items.

  39. Kelly says:

    Some of this would be alleviated if our dump fees and garbage collections fees weren’t so outrageous. Paying 3 dollars per bag on top of taxes for garbage collection is like being double billed. Not only that but being limited to two bags a week is just ignorant. No, not everyone has two bags a week but sometimes (spring cleaning, moving etc) you are forced to hang on to items. Your choices are pay 3 dollars at the curb or you are penalized an extra dollar per bag while spending your time and gas and making the garbage removal companies life easier by hauling it to the dump yourself. That is IF you are able to make it to the dump during the almost non-existent hour of operation.

    This is the only area I know of first hand that has consistently charged more for less access and poorer service where garbage removal is concerned.

    Is it any wonder people resort to this type of behavior? Perhaps we all need to start dropping our extra garbage on town councils doorstep? Although doubtful it would get noticed. The constant stench of BS coming out of there is pretty overwhelming.

  40. Hildagard says:

    It is high time for the County council to designate a spring and fall large/small item garbage collection day!! All other municipalities in Ontario have one–why does Prince Edward County NOT have one!!! This would alleviate this situation that the Second Time Around and other stores are facing as well as rural side roads!!! If Napanee can have one–surely we can one too!! It’s amazing that Napanee even has leave and brush collection!!

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