SYKESVILLE — Despite efforts by town officials to control costs, residents will end up footing at least part of the bill for county tipping fees this year.
A draft of the fiscal 1992 budget calls for a 5 percent property tax increase, to 73 cents per $100 of assessed value.
In addition, town officials are working with regional businesses to come up with a method of paying for tipping fees through commercial sanitation fees and Dumpster rentals.
A Dumpster Fee Committee met Monday to discuss ways to recoup from businesses some of the moneythe town pays the county, without charging more than they can bear.
Currently, many downtown businesses rent Dumpsters from the town for $10 per month per cubic yard.
But since the county has imposed landfill tipping fees on the towns, municipal officials are scrambling to cover the extra cost.
"We need to recoup the $15-a-ton tipping fee," Council President Charles B. Mullins said. "Everything else (wages, sanitation costs) was there before."
Town Manager James L. Schumacher said Monday that the town is paying roughly $13,500 a yearto dump 900 tons of commercial trash in county landfills, while bringing in $12,500 to $14,000 in Dumpster rentals.
An additional $4,000 to $5,000 also is needed for the annual purchase of new Dumpsters,he said. Overall, the Sanitation Department has requested $97,280 for fiscal 1992 -- $35,000 for tipping fees.
An ordinance proposed in March, which suggested tripling Dumpster rentals to cover all sanitation costs, incensed some business owners.
"A property tax increase would be more equitable because everybody would pay," said Kim Heacock, committee member and owner of Main Street Dry Goods. "If a fee is put on the downtown businesses, you need to put a fee on residential customers, too."
The issue is complicated by several factors. Renters in the downtown district don't pay Dumpster rentals; some businesses don't have their own Dumpster and put their trash in someone else's; and others don't pay their Dumpster rental fees.
A proposalto charge businesses' fees according to usage also ran into problems. Businesses would have to be checked for light, medium or heavy usage, and some business owners probably would argue against their usage category, town officials say.
A third proposal, suggested by Schumacher, was to charge an additional $10 per month per cubic yard for Dumpsters and charge residential households an annual fee.
Schumacher and Randy Hughes, sanitation supervisor, are expected to present aproposal at next Monday's Town Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Town House. Public comment will be accepted at the meeting