Cortland County residents will pay $5 more per ton — either directly or through their haulers — to dump their trash at the county’s landfill beginning July 1.
The Cortland County Legislature on Thursday voted, 12-5, to raise the landfill tipping fee $5 per ton to $85 per ton, and then an additional $5 per ton on Jan. 1, 2022.
Legislators Ann Homer (D-Cortland), Joe Nauseef (R-Cortlandville), Linda Jones (R-Homer), Kelly Preston (R-Homer) and Richard Stock (D-Cortland) voted no.
“I think we should hold off on this at this time,” Nauseef said, adding legislators should meet again with the haulers to discuss other ways to increase revenue.
However, Legislator Christopher Newell (R-Cortlandville) said the county is “famous for kicking the can down the road” when it comes to planning for the future.
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.
Homer said if the fee was raised, the county should also talk to city officials because the blue bag fee will increase.
A resolution that was pulled from the floor at October’s Legislature meeting had originally proposed raising the tipping fee $10 per ton.
Cortland City Mayor Brian Tobin had said that increase would have sparked an increase of 50 cents for a large blue bag and 25 cents for a medium bag, from $5 and $3.25, respectively.
The public wasn’t allowed to attend the meeting in person, but rather virtually, so county Highway Superintendent Charlie Sudbrink told haulers via email to send their comments on agenda items to the clerk of the Legislature.
“Fine way to try to silence all of us!!” said Lesa Williams, owner of Cortland Sanitation, in an email sent Wednesday to the clerk. “Not letting us attend!! I still have not had my questions answered, and they have not had time to consider all the subjects discussed at the haulers meeting.”
Haulers met with county officials Nov. 12 over its proposal to raise the tipping fee.
“Being essential workers, we have enough to worry about on a day to day basis, then you need to add more,” Williams said. “We are worried about what is happening now, and you worry about something 19 years away. Give us all a break. Most of us are just small haulers trying to make a living, and you just want more.”
Williams also said the county hasn’t adequately enforced its flow control law, which requires haulers who collect trash inside the county to send that trash to the landfill.
Ron Fuller of Fuller’s Trash also voiced his disapproval of the fee increase.
“Seems to me once again us dedicated small haulers with our very long-standing customer base of long-term residents of Cortland County are once again paying the price,” he said in an email Thursday.
He said all of his customers have voiced their displeasure about the fee increase and those customers have tried to talk to their legislators, to no avail.
Fuller said that haulers meeting felt like a joke because the county had still planned to move forward with a vote, even though haulers felt there was an understanding that the resolution would be pushed off.