November 30, 2021

City blue bag cost up 40%

County tipping fee hike, new hauler contract cited as cause of increase

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Richard Champion, with Binghamton-based Bert Adams Disposal, compacts trash picked up on Court Street in January 2017. File photo.

Cortland residents will pay nearly 40 percent more for the big blue bags to toss their trash and 30 percent more for medium bags, following a Common Council vote Tuesday.

The council voted 5-0 to raise prices of the blue bags to $3.25 per bag from $2.50 for medium bags and $5 from $3.60 for large bags. The program covers the cost of trash collection — which is provided by Bert Adam’s Disposal and will also increase — and disposal.

The bags, which are required to be used for trash under city law, are sold at local stores.

The increase in price was to help deal with increased prices in services, including trash collecting and Cortland County raising its tipping fee at the landfill.

“The tipping fee at the county is going up by $15,” said Chris Bistocchi, public works supervisor, to $80 a ton from $65 a ton. “That’s going to increase our cost by $29,625.”

Projected expenses the city faces are around $714,870, Bistocchi said.

“In a three-year average we sell approximately 130,000 large blue bags and we sell approximately 20,000 medium blue bags,” Bistocchi said.

Projected revenue from the blue bags would be around $715,000 using the three-year average, a difference of $130. “And that’s as close as I could get to breaking even,” Bistocchi said.

The resolution to approve the increase passed unanimously. Council members Michelle Mastropolo (D-1st Ward), William Carpenter (D-5th Ward) and Carlos Ferrer (D-6th Ward) were not present.

City residents can use a private hauler to avoid the blue bag fee, but residents using the city service are required to buy them. Bistocchi said on average a city resident would pay around $20 a month for the bags.

During the meeting council also accepted, by unanimous vote, a new contract bid from Bert Adam’s Disposal for three years — an increase from $160 a ton to $249 a ton.

Another point of discussion raised by Mayor Brian Tobin was the city returning to doing its own trash service, rather than hiring a private contractor.

Alderman Gary Thomas (D-3rd Ward) said the city disbanded its trash service in 1989 to save money.

The council reached a consensus to look into what the cost would be for its own trash service.