Chamber president Don MacBeath and business manager Lisa MacLeod raised the topic during a meeting with the Burin town council last week.
MacBeath and McLeod made a presentation to the Marystown town council later the same evening and also plan to meet with other councils.
The chamber is asking that councils consider the total tax burden on businesses as they plan their budgets for the coming year.
MacBeath said businesses are being hit because their private garbage disposal service is being charged a tipping fee to offload at the Burin Peninsula Regional Service Board’s waste site near Jean de Baie.
“It’s resulted in businesses paying a much higher total amount for waste disposal. That’s the bottom line,” MacBeath told the Burin town council, noting the chamber is also asking councils to give it a financial impact assessment of the waste management system on the municipality.
The commercial charge for dumping at the Jean de Baie facility, which was owned and operated by the Town of Marystown until earlier this year, is $90 per tonne.
Marystown was integrated into the existing system this summer. Previously, Burin and other towns in the service board’s southern region shipped waste to the now-shuttered site at Molliers, outside Grand Bank. Communities north of Marystown will be amalgamated into the system in the first half of next year.
The service board charged towns $130 per unit for residential waste pickup this year, an amount that will increase to $170 in January.
Small businesses can pay the same fee as that charged to residences, provided they adhere to the same guidelines — eight or fewer garbage bags per week.
Burin Mayor Kevin Lundrigan, who represents the Burin sub-region on the service board, said 49 businesses on the peninsula are paying the $130 fee.
Lundrigan said it would be difficult to cut taxes for businesses and not residential taxpayers.
When it comes to waste disposal, the mayor pointed out, Newfoundland and Labrador is playing catch-up on regulations that have been in place across the rest of Canada for some time. The result is higher costs, he said.
“No one hates paying taxes any more than I do, but sometimes you’ve got to bite the bullet.”
MacBeath acknowledged, meanwhile, that the chamber fully supports the environmental benefits of the regional waste system.