Transport Minister is considering a user-pays charge for household waste
To do so, a covenant agreement with St Helier must be lifted
It would require support of parishioners - with a referendum a possibility
Should charges for waste disposal be means-tested?
ST Helier parishioners may be asked to vote in a referendum on whether to lift a decades-old agreement which prevents residents being charged for disposing of household waste.
Transport Minister Eddie Noel has said that he is considering introducing a user-pays charge on waste disposal and is looking to see whether a covenant agreement with the parish could be lifted.
However, St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft has said that any decision on whether to lift the agreement would have to be made by the rate payers and that he would consider holding a parish referendum on the topic.
He added that he believed parishioners would be unlikely to agree to removing the agreement if it meant that a charge could be levied on waste disposal.
Currently, waste disposals are paid for by taxes and Deputy Noel has said that a user-pays charge on commercial and domestic waste would encourage more Islanders to recycle.
The minister has said that any charge on waste disposal could not be introduced until the covenant agreement - which was put in place following the transfer of parish land to the States for waste management - is removed.
Mr Crowcroft said: ‘The parish assembly would have to agree to that [lifting the covenant] and my initial reaction would be that they would not agree to it.
‘It would be something that I would want to put to rates payers via a referendum and we would need to know exactly what the proposals are. If a significant amount of money is put on the table then that may persuade rates payers.
‘The parish assembly is the decision making body, but we have 18,000 voters in St Helier and it would be up to them to decide. You could not do that at a parish meeting so you would have to have a binding referendum.
‘It is a covenant in St Helier’s favour but as a parish, we bear the brunt of these kind of processes.’
The States recently agreed to an amendment to the Strategic Plan which would see the government pay rates on its buildings - a move which would put hundreds of thousands of pounds into St Helier parish funds.
And Mr Crowcroft is concerned that the Council of Ministers may use that as a bargaining tool in a bid to remove the agreement.
He added: ‘The States has a problem paying for its waste disposal and the minister is obviously exploring ways to deal with that.
‘It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Council of Ministers may say that they agree to pay rates for their building if we lift the agreement.
‘I would oppose that - the argument about the States paying rates has effectively been won and they can’t start putting conditions on that.’
During a Scrutiny Panel hearing last week, Deputy Noel revealed that he was seeking legal advice as to whether the covenant could be lifted.
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