December 1, 2021

Haulers: Delay raising landfill fee a year

Greg Leach of Leach’s Custom Trash Service and his wife went to a Cortland County restaurant recently and they, along with one other person, were the only people there.

Leach was among a number of trash haulers who met Thursday with the county legislature’s Highway Committee to oppose raising the landfill tipping fee.

“We’re going to tell them they need to pay more for disposing of recycling and garbage,” he said. “I just think the timing is inappropriate — do it after this virus is over with.”

Haulers from at least six companies voiced concerns with a resolution to raise the county tipping fee to $85 per ton in 2021 from $80 per ton and then another $5 per ton more in 2022.

The increase was suggested to fund a landfill closure reserve account so when the county must close the landfill in 2039, it would have at least some of the $20 million cost. It would also fund a reserve account for repairs and replacement of machines.

“I know during these times my residents, my customers can’t really afford to pay more,” said Ron Fuller of Fuller’s Trash.

He said the big issue is that the county’s flow control Law — which requires trash collected in the county be brought to the county landfill isn’t enforced.

Other haulers agreed.

Fuller gave a list of 15 haulers he said were hauling Cortland trash outside the county, and said an enforcement officer would be worth the money.

“I just feel there’s a lot of lost revenue in tonnage that way,” Fuller said, noting in 1989 the county saw 40,000 tons of trash go to the landfill.

Highway Superintendent Charlie Sudbrink said he has received only one tip that a hauler was taking trash out of the county. Without more, he couldn’t justify an officer.

“There is trash leaving the county, but our only mechanism to control that is to know about it,” Sudbrink said. “As a department head I’ve been told to make cuts to personnel, there’s no new hire.”

Lesa Williams, an owner of Cortland Sanitation, said the county could make money by charging residents $30 for a year’s permit to dump at the landfill like the haulers pay, instead of $10, generating more than $40,000.

Legislator Linda Jones (R-Homer) said perhaps that money could be used to pay for an enforcement officer.