A resolution to increase the Cortland County tipping fee by $10 per ton means county residents are more likely to pay more to get rid of their trash, a hauler said.
“The hauler accrues the cost of that and in turn has to turn around and pass that on to the customers,” said Ron Fuller, the owner of Fuller Trash in Marathon. “This ain’t going to go over well.”
The county Legislature’s Highway Committee voted Tuesday, 3-2, to recommend raising the tipping fee to $90 per ton from $80 per ton. Legislators Joe Nauseef (R-Cortlandville) and Linda Jones (R-Homer) voted no. Legislators Ron VanDee (D-Cortland) and Richard Stock (D-Cortland) were absent. The Legislature will still need to vote on the resolution at its Oct. 22 meeting.
“Our community is suffering right now, our community is having a hard time financially with all the COVID stuff that’s going on and we keep on pushing more and more on these people we’re going to have garbage piling up in people’s backyards because they just can’t afford to get rid of it anymore,” Nauseef said. “It doesn’t sound like much to you, but for some people out there, their budgets are so tight they just can’t afford any more.”
The county last raised the tipping fee in 2018 to $80 per ton from $65 per ton to help close an $800,000 solid waste deficit. Of the $10 proposed increase, $5 would go into an equipment reserve account.
“Now that we’ve taken over the recycling center, we need a way to replace and maintain equipment,” said Highway Superintendent Charlie Sudbrink.
He said that there is a five-year plan to replace landfill equipment, but not for the recycling center because all of the equipment is new.
The other $5 per would go toward an account to later cap the landfill cell the county’s “long-term obligation to close, cap, monitor and collect leachate from landfill cells that reach the end of their life cycle and are filled up,” Sudbrink said.
“The last time the county capped a cell it cost in excess of $1 million,” Sudbrink said. “The estimate to cap the remaining cells is $3 million.”
The increase would also make both facilities financially self-sufficient what the county’s flow control law had intended.
Right now though, Sudbrink said $150,000 is still being taken from the general fund to cover costs. With the increase, the landfill would generate $697,000 more per year, Sudbrink said the recycling center needs $663,000 to cover costs.
In September, Sudbrink discussed with the committee the possibility of raising the fee $10 to help implement programs for recycling light bulbs and mattresses properly. That idea hasn’t gone away, Sudbrink said.
“In addition the added revenue could be used to cover the cost of implementing new programs such as CFL bulb recycling and mattress recycling if the Legislature authorizes those programs and related expenses,” Sudbrink said.