Ways to curb rise in per-ton tipping fee discussed

May 18, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County could curb a tipping fee increase if it raised the charge to dump construction debris at landfills and levied a charge on yard waste, the county comptroller said yesterday.

But the county commissioners weren't ready to make a decision about increasing the $40-per-ton fee, which they must do to comply with new government accounting standards that require the county to charge a fee high enough to pay for future costs.

Instead, Commissioner Julia W. Gouge asked Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman to gather more information about how a system of charging by the bag instead of the ton could work in Carroll.

Last month, the commissioners asked Mr. Curfman to find ways to whittle down the increase to $53 per ton that he had recommended. Yesterday, he gave the commissioners three options, but would not say which he recommended because all three commissioners were not at the meeting.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell was at a Planning Commission meeting and did not arrive at the staff meeting with Mr. Curfman until it was almost over.

Any increase would be effective July 1, the first day of fiscal 1995.

Mr. Curfman said the tipping fee increase could be as low at $8.71 a ton in fiscal 1995 if the county charged $80 a ton to dump construction debris, known as rubble, and $20 a ton for yard waste taken to the compost pile.

Or, the increase could be $9.05 a ton if the county charged $80 a ton to dump rubble, but did not charge anything for yard waste.

The third option would be to raise the tipping fee by $9.27 and charge $75 a ton for rubble and $20 a ton for yard waste.

Mr. Curfman said he suggested increasing the charge for rubble because he believes a lot of rubble that is dumped in Carroll landfills comes from construction projects in other counties. Carroll landfills should accept only county waste, but there is no way to prove where the rubble comes from, he said.

He also said new state regulations will make it more expensive to bury rubble in the future. Currently, rubble may be buried in an area of the landfill that does not have a liner, but the state will require a liner in the future, he said.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy and Mrs. Gouge said they did not want to charge for bringing yard waste to the landfills.

"This yard waste is just a nightmare," Mrs. Gouge said.

Last month, the commissioners voted to ban yard waste from being buried at the landfills. Now, residents may take it to be composted for free at the landfills. The county uses the compost, and it is available free to residents.

Mr. Lippy said a resident angry about the new policy threatened to dump his yard waste in the commissioner's car.

If the county charged to bring yard waste to the landfill, many residents would throw it on the side of roads or in commercial trash bins, Mr. Curfman said.

"People are going to get rid of it one way or another," he said.

Mr. Curfman said he also factored into the tipping fee increases a change in the charge for pickup truck loads. Currently, the county charges $6 for a small pickup load and $8 for pickups with side rails. Under his plan, pickups would be charged by weight.

Mrs. Gouge said she would not make a decision about a tipping fee increase until hearing more about a system that would charge by the bag instead of the ton. Charging by the bag would be cheaper for residents who recycle and so generate less trash.

"We've got to see the other alternatives," she said.

The topic is on the agenda at a public works meeting tomorrow.

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