SYKESVILLE — Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. is threatening to send another tea bag to the Carroll County commissioners in protest against the county's proposed landfill tipping fees.
The county's offer of a $2 reduction in tipping fees to the town, which currently recycles about 23 percent of its solid waste, is unacceptable, Helt said at Monday night's Town Council meeting.
"This is a travesty," he said. "It will destroy our program. We need a $10 differential to make the system work; we cannot accept the $2 figure."
On March 6 Helt sent the commissioners a letter comparing the forced tipping fee to England's tea tax in 1773. The Boston Tea Party was a dramatic show of opposition, but one that worked.
Last spring, the town opened its own recycling center at the maintenance building on Sandosky Road, owned and operated by Modern Junk and Salvage of Baltimore.
Since then, residents have brought their recyclables to the center on a voluntary basis. Public Works Department figures for the past year show an average of 23 percent less trash going to the Hoods Mill Road landfill.
"The town citizens are to receive little for their payment and have little to say in how it is spent," Helt wrote the commissioners. "The town, in short, is being penalized for doing what the county should have done years ago."
The county is proposing a $40 per ton tipping fee to haulers, but it recently offered to
charge Sykesville only $38 to allow for the town's own program.
Recycling center co-owner Mark Billet told the councilMonday that it would be difficult to run the center off the $2 differential.
"We're recycling not just Sykesville, but Eldersburg and even Howard County, all over the area," Billet said. "The people taking recyclables (from the center) want to charge to take them."
An equally angry Council President Kenneth Clark said the county fees were a way for the commissioners to make money at the expense of the citizens.
"It's a back-door way of the county getting your tax dollars," he said. "And they look like the good guys, saying, 'We're bringing recycling to the county.' "
Clark also told the council the mandatory recycling program "is going to hit our budget like you wouldn't believe."
He estimated the cost could be as much as $100,000 for fiscal 1993, including a truck to collect recyclables.
Helt willbe at a county recycling meeting at 2 p.m. today with the town's public works personnel and recycling center operators to plead for a further reduction in tipping fees.
"We're not going to lose our program," the mayor vowed.