December 1, 2021

Recycling more costly

Cortland County Legislature looks to fund growing bills

Kevin Conlon/City Editor

Jim Glover of Cortland drops off “a little of everything” Tuesday at the Cortland County Recycling Center on Pendleton Street in Cortland. The Cortland County Legislature is considering options to increase funding to the program as costs are rising this year.

An increase in recyclables at the Cortland County recycling center, a decrease in the price of recyclables as a commodity and inadequate budgeting has caused Cortland County to fall short in paying its recycling bills.

Highway Superintendent Charlie Sudbrink asked Solid Waste Committee members to provide another $222,020 to cover the cost of bills from Casella Waste Management until the end of the year to handle the county’s recycling. The annual cost for single-stream recycling through August was $375,320, according to a recycling report given to the committee.

That request included a 10% contingency in case the intake of recyclables was high or the value of the recycled materials dipped — which is has been steadily decreasing over the years, making them less of a commodity.

In August, the county received 342.61 tons of single-stream recycling at a cost of $50,458.84.

“This total reflects the addition cost of the commodities for August of $28,013.14 paid by the county,” the recycling report states.

Come January, the county will take over operations at the facility. The program is meant to be self-sustaining. Until then, Sudbrink said the county is left paying an average monthly cost of $46,915 for Casella to take care of recycling.

However, George Wagner (R-Marathon, Lapeer) said he would not support giving Sudbrink the full amount. He’d rather see departments make requests each month to better keep track of the county’s spending.

“We can do this and say, ‘OK you’re good for the year,’ but we lose sight of it, whereas you can come back every month say, ‘I need it,’ and it’s up to us to approve it and at least we’re more conscious of the money were paying out, especially out of the general fund,” he said.

Sudbrink and Recycling Coordinator Renee Parks said they weren’t sure of the exact amount of he bill for September because the invoice had not come yet.

Legislator Michael Barylski (D-Cortlandville) suggested giving the department only $55,000 on top of the $31,000 it had left for the year.

“We’re going to get our bills out late in typical county fashion,” Sudbrink said. “You know if somebody bills us, they don’t get paid for 60 days.”

Wagner supported Barylski’s idea and the amended resolution was approved unanimously, to be sent to the full Legislature.

“We’ll see you next month,” Wagner said.