Low-income Calgarians could get a break on their curbside recycling bill.

A report for Wednesday’s city utilities and environment committee states 34,000 of the 300,000 to be serviced by the 2009 program may be eligible for low-income subsidies.

The 50 per cent subsidy will create a $1.6-million shortfall, which will boost overall cost per household $105 per year from the original $96.


However, the cost of not implementing a subsidy program may be much higher, said Scott Hunter, 25, who has known a hard time or two.

“Without a subsidy, it just means that lower-income people will have to scrape even harder to come up with the money, find better ways of managing their cash, and that might mean leaving out some of the things they really need to survive.”

The report also said a stand-alone program, administered through Enmax billing, is pegged at $1 million, for an estimated $2.6-million annual total program cost.

“There’s a lot of money involved here ... it’s something we’re going to have to take a long, hard look at,” said committee chair Ald. Linda Fox-Mellway, predicting some pretty “heavy debate.”

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