HOUSEHOLDERS in Dublin city could be hit with increased bin fees in six months time.
Dublin City Council is currently putting final arrangements in place for the handover of its waste collection service to a private operator.
However, the only price guarantee for the council's 140,000 customers is that bin fees will not go up for the first six months of 2012.
The local authority says the agreement reached with Greyhound Recycling and Recovery, which will be collecting the city's household waste from January 16, ensures the current scale of charges will be maintained for the first six months.
But it adds that Greyhound may apply an increase to the levies to off-set the next increase to the Government's landfill levy which is due to take effect in July, 2012.
The current waiver scheme, whereby families only pay a portion of the charges due to their financial circumstances, will remain in force throughout next year.
No commitment is given with regard to 2013.
The council is currently holding meetings with Greyhound "with a view to having a detailed plan in place to address all of the issues that will arise from the changeover".
A list of frequently asked questions is being prepared and will be widely circulated.
The deal is the second that Greyhound completed in 2012, having purchased South Dublin County Council's waste collection business last March.
The operator said the changeover will help the council save about €60m in six years and "assures customers that we will recycle more of their waste than any other waste collector".
Fine Gael councillor Gerry Breen called on city officials to ensure the teething problems experienced when the green bin service was privatised are not repeated. He said the move to sell off the operation was inevitable as the council "cannot compete in terms of structures" with the commercial sector. "The whole thing mitigates against us. But as long as people can get a good service at a good price I don't think there is an issue," Mr Breen said.
Independent councillor Cieran Perry rejected accusations that the anti-bin tax campaign ultimately led to the privatisation of the service.