Tipping fee increase is expected Commissioners envision $13 rise this summer

April 02, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The Carroll commissioners probably will increase the tipping fee for dumping in county landfills to $53 from $40 a ton this summer to help pay for building and operating future landfills.

County Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman recommended the increase during a staff meeting yesterday.

Two commissioners -- Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy -- said they didn't see a way to avoid the increase. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said the county should recycle more and look into other ways to dispose of refuse.

Beginning in 1994, new "generally accepted accounting standards" will require the county to charge a tipping fee high enough to help pay for future costs of landfills, Mr. Curfman said.

He recommended that the county phase in the increase. If the county increased the fee to cover all required changes, the fee would be $61 per ton in fiscal 1994, which begins July 1, he said.

Mr. Curfman said yesterday he has not recommended a specific increase for fiscal year 1995.

An increase to $53 would allow the county to keep several capital projects associated with landfills for fiscal 1994 on track, he said.

Planned capital projects include closing one part of Hoods Mill Landfill and opening another part of Northern Landfill.

The comptroller estimated that tipping fees could go as high as $91 in fiscal 1997 to cover capital and operating costs and debt service.

Most of the current fee -- $33 -- goes toward paying operating costs, Mr. Curfman said. The remaining $7, which raises $600,000 to $700,000 a year, pays for capital costs, he said.

"It doesn't buy you much," he said.

Mr. Dell said the board doesn't have much choice but to raise the fee. He advocates building an incinerator at the Northern Landfill, to eliminate the need for landfills.

Mr. Lippy said, "I can't argue with the figures" presented by Mr. Curfman.

He then joked that he probably wouldn't be elected again. The commissioners also recently raised water and sewer rates in the Freedom District in South Carroll and received complaints from residents.

Mrs. Gouge said, "We have to recycle more." She also suggested looking into composting more of the county's garbage.

Mr. Dell asked the commissioners whether they wanted to vote on the recommendation yesterday. Mrs. Gouge said she wasn't ready and wanted to look at alternatives.

Mr. Lippy said the decision would have to be made soon because towns need to finalize their budgets.

The commissioners agreed to tell towns that the fee would not exceed $53 for the coming fiscal year.

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