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August 3, 2010

 

Small haulers push for flow control at landfill

Requiring garbage produced in county to stay in county could increase tipping fee revenue

LandfillCortland Standard photo
Gulls circle as workers separate items before using a compactor to push trash into the Cortland County landfill in Solon.

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

As Cortland County explores ways of solving the county’s approximately $14 million debt at the landfill, small trash haulers are pushing for the county to implement flow control.
A flow control law would require all trash and recycling materials generated in the county to be disposed of at the county landfill or recycling facility.
By increasing the amount of trash dumped at the landfill, the county would bring in more revenues because landfill tipping fees, a fee charged per ton of garbage dumped, would be kept in the county.
That fee is now $60 per ton.
Some haulers who can afford the trip out of county choose to dump garbage at other landfills, such as Seneca Meadows, where tipping fees are less expensive.
Within six weeks, the Niagara Falls-based consultant EnSol will study the landfill and recommend solutions to the county’s debt.
At the July 22 Legislative session, legislators approved a $23,800 contract with EnSol.
The solutions could include selling or leasing the landfill.
Ronnie Fuller, who operates the Cortlandville-based Fuller Trucking garbage removal service, is opposed to these options.
Fuller said small haulers would stand to lose from options such as selling or leasing the landfill, potentially being forced out of business or being held at the mercy of higher tipping fees if the lease calls for increased rates.
Fuller is circulating petitions to his approximately 500 customers to encourage the Legislature to implement flow control.
Fuller said many customers are for flow control since it would guarantee revenues are kept inside Cortland County.
Fuller said it is unfair for small haulers like his to suffer.
“We keep it competitive and we are keeping prices down cheaper than everybody else,” Fuller said.
Lisa Williams, who operates Cortland Sanitation with her husband, Myron, said she also does not want the county to sell or lease the landfill.
“We don’t believe the county should get rid of the landfill,” Williams said.
Williams said the county should consider ways of extending the life of the landfill, such as purchasing a tarp to cover the landfill at night instead of the current practice of spreading dirt over the garbage at night.
Williams wants the county to consider what consequences both selling and leasing the landfill would have on taxpayers and private haulers.
Williams advocates lowering the tipping fee. This could make it more feasible for large haulers to dump in the county instead of shipping the garbage out of the county.
According to Highway Superintendent Don Chambers, Leach’s Custom Trash Services started taking garbage out of the county in 2005.
A phone call to Leach’s was not returned by press time.
The county started acquiring the debt in 2008, when it started construction of new cells at the landfill, said Chambers.
Chambers said in 2009 the landfill received 18,759 tons of garbage, as compared to 21,383 tons in 2000. This amounts to an approximately $157,000 reduction in annual revenue.
In 2009 the income from the tipping fees were approximately $1.1 million. Other revenue generated from selling scrap metal and permit fees, are not included in this figure.
Legislature Chairman Jack Williams (D-8th Ward) said EnSol will evaluate all options, including flow control.
“They have to take a look at the whole picture. They have to figure out what’s in the best interests of everybody, the 48,000 people in the county,” Williams said.
Williams said since EnSol is a professional organization it is the best entity to evaluate the situation.

 

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