Commissioners May Scrap Proposed Recycling Fee

April 05, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

The county commissioners may scrap a so-called recycling fee and raise the landfill tipping fee -- a plan some said would make the billing process in the county's proposed recycling program simple and more fair.

The recommendation to raise the tipping fee and drop the recycling fee came from the county's recycling committee and staff Thursday, a day after commissioners met with trash haulers and municipal official to review a draft of the recycling program.

During the three-hour meeting, several trash haulers objected to the county's plan to have them bill and collect a "solid waste management fee" from their customers.

Haulers contended that process would be cumbersome and subject to loopholes, allowing some customers toavoid paying the fee. The county, with its tax lists, would be better equipped to collect the fee and make sure all residents pay their share, haulers said.

"It's been talked about," Robert A. Bair, executive assistant to the commissioners, said of that option. "It's not out of the realm of possibilities. It's something the commissioners will have to evaluate."

Haulers also said that adding the fee to trash bills would make them the villains in the collection process. ButBair responded that the fee would be a separate line item on trash bills and that haulers could add a $1 administrative fee for the billing and collection.

"We're trying to show people that garbage disposal costs money," Bair said. "It costs big bucks."

It will still cost big bucks. Commissioners last week did not take action on the recommendation nor did they raise the tipping fee, currently set at $15 per ton. The fee will be set after meetings and public hearings this month.

Beginning July 1, recyclable materials will be prohibited from either of the county's two landfills. The tipping fee would be adjusted on an annual basis and cover the costs of the solid waste management program.

Under the recycling program, trash haulers would be licensed to pick up trash and recyclables from Carroll households. The haulers would be responsible for separating trash from recyclables.

The county's program, implemented to meet a state-mandated 15 percent recycling goal by 1994, would include pickup and sorting of newspapers, office paper, junk mail, aluminum cans, glass containers, plastic, phone books and corrugated boxes.

The county is negotiating a contract with Phoenix Recycling Inc. to serve as Carroll's recycling center. Haulers would drop off recyclables at the firm's Finksburg facility. However, county staff are looking at the possibility of allowing haulers to operate their own recycling facilities.

Concerns were raised about the county collecting "white goods" -- large appliances such as refrigerators, washers and dryers. Haulers now pick upthe appliances and sell them to salvage firms.

The commissioners Thursday agreed to not require those items to be dumped at the landfills. Haulers, though, will have to report those items sent to salvagefirms so the county gets credit for the recycling.

Others questioned plans to exempt Sykesville from the recycling fee because the South Carroll town has a successful voluntary recycling program in place. That issue has not been resolved.

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